Tag:Justin Fuente
Posted on: December 15, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 9:28 pm
 

Keys to the game: Poinsettia Bowl

Posted by Bryan Fischer

TCU WILL WIN IF: How's a trip to San Diego before Christmas for a Mountain West swan song sound? The Horned Frogs dominated conference play for the final time, including a memorable upset of Boise State, and will head to one of just four bowls matching up conference champions. Motivation would normally be a factor for some teams coming from two straight BCS bowls but not for one coached by Gary Patterson - as intense and well-prepared a coach as you will find.

"I think the key is, the team that wins bowl games is the team that wants it the most," Patterson said. "What I’ve found is that you usually find out in the first five minutes of the ballgame how that’s all going to go down, with the intensity level and how they do it. I think this is going to be one of the games people talk about, one of the better ball games in the bowl season."

A win in the bowl game would also give TCU 11 wins for the seventh time in a decade. Though they've taken a few lumps, this team is built on defense and linebacker Tank Carder is looking to cap off a great career by slowing down Louisiana Tech's high-powered offense with help from the secondary. The offense is pretty good too, rounding into form as the season progressed. The Horned Frogs have scored at least 27 straight in every game this year and if quarterback Casey Pachall and the offense - sans coordinator Justin Fuente - keep turnovers to a minimum, they should be riding off to the Big 12 with a bowl game win.

"This ball game is a challenge for us," added Patterson. "Not only is it a challenge at the end of the season but it’s a challenge to go into next season, to teach our kids what it’s about to play at a high level. There are no two ways about it."

LOUISIANA TECH WILL WIN IF: The Bulldogs certainly can score some points, averaging almost 450 yards of offense and 35 points per game ever since Colby Cameron took over at quarterback and started throwing the ball around. The offense gets most of the attention but the defense isn't too shabby either with 20 interceptions on the year - good for third in the nation.

"This will be a bit of a measuring stick for our program and where we are headed," head coach Sonny Dykes said. "This has been a great team to coach, we’ve had a fun ride."

A sound game plan that mixes up a few runs as Cameron finds top wide receiver Quinton Patton should be able to move the chains and find the end zone. If the defense can make some plays and slow down the TCU offense, special teams will come into play and the team has a great weapon in Ryan Allen, who won the Ray Guy Award as the nation's best punter and can help flip the field position battle in favor of LaTech.

"Our guy Ryan Allen had plenty of punts," said Dykes. "We won ball games because of him, especially when we were trying to find an identity offensively early. We were making a quarterback switch and trying to find which direction we were going. Our defense was playing pretty consistent football and our punter was giving us a chance to win. He is a weapon."

"This is the biggest bowl game for us, probably in school history, so we have to see this as an opportunity."

THE X-FACTOR: As always, turnovers. Pachall has been pretty good in not throwing interceptions or fumbling the ball but he has to keep that up in this game. Give Louisiana Tech extra chances to score and things might get interesting. Spread offenses - Baylor, SMU - have hurt TCU already this year and the WAC champions know how to beat teams if the game is close.


Posted on: December 13, 2011 11:57 am
Edited on: December 13, 2011 9:17 pm
 

Toledo names OC Matt Campbell new head coach

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Having guided the Rockets to an eighth-place finish in FBS total offense, Toledo offensive coordinator Matt Campbell had two choices: he could follow his former head coach Tim Beckman to Illinois, or take over as the Rockets head coach himself.

Monday night, Campbell made his choice official, electing to remain in Toledo and serve as the program's 26th head coach. At just 32 years old, the Ohio native and alumnus of powerhouse Division III program Mount Union become the youngest coach in the FBS by nearly three years over newly-hired Memphis head coach Justin Fuente.

"Honestly, there's no place I'd rather be than right here at the University of Toledo," Campbell said. "My goal and dream has always been to be a head football coach, and I think coach Beckman knew that. I think he understood that." 

Both current Rockets and recent graduates of Beckman's revitalized program praised the move.

"With how our program was being run, you don't want someone coming in and destroying the momentum that the Toledo football program is building," Arizona Cardinals wide receiver (and 2009 Rocket) Stephen Williams told the Toledo Blade. "[Campbell] has been around. He knows where everything is going. He's a lot like coach Beckman, but he knows the direction he wants to take this program in, especially offensively." 

In four years under Campbell and Beckman, the Rockets improved steadily in the win-loss column but took a pair of giant leaps forward in offensive production. After finishing 84th in total offense under previous head coach Tom Amstutz in 2008, Toledo surged all the way to 13th in Campbell's first season. An inexperienced offense meant a slide back to 74th in 2010, but Campbell turned things around to the tune of top-10 finishes in both total and scoring offense in 2011.

Campbell will still have work to do to fix an often porous defense (76th in total D) and break through to the Rockets' first MAC title since 2004. But given his offensive track record and enthusiasm for the job, he'll have at least as good a shot at it as any other candidate the Toledo administration might have selected.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 11:57 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 12:02 pm
 

Memphis to name TCU assistant Fuente head coach

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Memphis's head coaching search has its man.

According to multiple reports, including from the local Commercial AppealThe Tigers will unveil TCU co-offensive coordinator Justin Fuente as their new head coach Thursday at noon. Horned Frog officials have already issued their congratulations to Fuente on the new position on Twitter.

The Tigers search committee had reportedly settled on Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain and had even begun ironing out the details of a contract, only to make a last-minute change-of-heart in Fuente's favor.

While McElwain would have been the bigger name and arguably would have created the bigger splash, Fuente's resume isn't anything to sneeze at. Fuente has called plays for the Horned Frogs the past three seasons after being promoted from running backs coach, helping Gary Patterson's 2010 team to their undefeated Rose Bowl campaign and school records in both total and scoring offense, a year after setting those same records in 2009.

But this year might have been Fuente's best yet, as even without Andy Dalton or Jeremy Kerley the Frogs once again finished ninth in the FBS in both scoring and yards per-play--TCU's third straight top-12 finish in yards per-play under Fuente.

Fuente will have to prove he can hire the right staff and fix a Tiger defense even more atrocious than its putrid offense. But given the energy he should bring to the job at just 35 and the excitement his offensive flair should bring, it's hard to say the Tigers could have done a whole lot better than Fuente regardless.
 
 
 
 
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