Tag:Miami Dolphins
Posted on: February 18, 2012 5:20 pm
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Buckeyes' Sheridan leaves to become Buc DC

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Paul Chryst and the Pitt Panthers aren't the only team looking for a new assistant coach thanks to Greg Schiano's raid on the college ranks to fill out his Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff, as Ohio State defensive assistant Bill Sheridan has been tabbed as the new Buc defensive coordinator.

Sheridan's tenure with Urban Meyer's new Buckeye staff lasted just 19 days after he was hired to a non-specific defensive coaching position January 30. An Ohio State spokesperson confirmed to OSU student newspaper The Lantern (which first reported the story) that as of Friday Sheridan was no longer a member of the Buckeye staff.

Though Sheridan has a long track record of assistant coaching at schools across the Midwest, he had also spent the previous seven seasons working in the NFL, first with the New York Giants and then the Miami Dolphins. Sheridan was promoted to the Giants' defensive coordinator post in 2009 before being fired at the end of the season.

That being the case, it's hard to fault Sheridan for his decision, even given the short turnaround from his Ohio State stint--for an NFL coach given a second chance at coordinating an NFL defense, Schiano's offer had to have been far, far more appealing (and likely more lucrative) than coaching, say, safeties for the Buckeyes.

Still, Meyer will no doubt be less than thrilled to have to start searching for another new defensive assistant this close to spring practice.

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 6:13 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 6:35 pm
 

Gators hire Utah's Davis to coach offensive line

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The usual post-Signing Day position-coaching shuffle has continued across the SEC, with Florida the latest to make a move by naming Tim Davis their new offensive line coach.

The Gators announced Monday that Davis would be taking over for former line coach Frank Verducci, a who spent only one season in Gainesville after being hired, in part, due to his familiarity with the now-departed Charlie Weis. Davis arrives from Utah, where he held the same position.

The Gainesville Sun reported Monday that Verducci was fired by Muschamp after interviewing for the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive line position.

Despite the Utes' long-held reputation as one of the FBS's leading spread practitioners, Will Muschamp -- as he has been with all of his offensive staffing hires -- was quick to point out Davis's pro-style bona fides. Davis worked alongside Muschamp with the Miami Dolphins and has spent time with some of the country's most recognizable pro-style programs at Wisconsin, Alabama and USC.

"Tim is a perfect fit for our program - he has a history of coaching in a pro-style offense and shares the same program philosophies," Muschamp said in a statement. "It will be a seamless transition for our players and staff ... He understands the values that we put on the line of scrimmage and he will help us get where we want to be at that position after Coach Verducci made a decision to pursue other interests. We wish Frank the best of luck and appreciate his efforts towards the Gator program."

Like Verducci, Davis likely received his offer to join the Gator staff based not only on his familiarity with Muschamp's preferred style of offense, but the rest of the staff as well. In addition to his time alongside Muschamp in Miami, Davis worked with current Florida running backs coach Brian White at Wisconsin and tight ends coach Derek Lewis with Minnesota.

"I'm excited to work with Coach Muschamp again and join the Florida football program," Davis said. "Like most assistant coaches, I've been on a number of coaching staffs and usually there is a transition period when you join a new staff. I don't look at this as joining a new staff, having worked with Coach Muschamp, Dan Quinn, Brian White and Derek Lewis in the past. I understand the shared philosophies of the staff and look forward to being part of the Gator Nation."

Davis has work cut out for him--despite Muschamp's emphasis on a powerful Crimson Tide-like running game, the Gators finished 73rd in rushing in 2011.

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 6:19 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 6:36 pm
 

Iowa loses Ken O'Keefe to the NFL

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Kirk Ferentz is the longest-tenured coach in the Big Ten, patrolling the Iowa sideline since 1999. Over that span, Ferentz has had only one offensive coordinator with him at the school, Ken O'Keefe.

That will no longer be the case.

According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, O'Keefe is leaving a program to take a job with the Miami Dolphins. New Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin spent several years on Iowa's staff, coaching the offensive line from 1999 to 2002.

Ferentz confirmed the news in a release saying that "Ken O'Keefe has decided to leave our staff for another coaching opportunity."

All of which means there will be a lot of turnover on a coaching staff that hasn't had much at all ever since Ferentz was hired. Defensive coordinator Norm Parker retired following the 2011 season, and defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski left to take a job with Nebraska in December.

As for whom Ferentz will find to replace O'Keefe, it's still to early to know for sure. After all, Iowa still has to find a replacement for Parker to run the defense.

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 3:44 pm
 

Les Miles "not interested" in Miami Dolphins job

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When the South Florida Sun-Sentinel listed Les Miles as one of the leading candidates for the now-vacant Miami Dolphins head coaching job Monday, it seemed like something of a reach, not just for the paper's reasoning (that NCAA "sanctions could be on their way"*) but because Miles has never been in a better position in Baton Rouge. He's on the verge of his second national title and first perfect season, all with a stunningly young team that features underclassmen in any number of key positions. He's not just enjoying his best campaign yet; he could be on the verge of an out-and-out dynasty.

But just to put any potential rumors to bed for good, Miles had LSU spokesman Michael Bonnette issue a statement on his behalf Wednesday that disavowed any interest in the Dolphins position.  

"He said he is full steam ahead for the national championship and not interested in any other job," Bonnette said. "He wanted everyone to know that he is not interested in the Miami job." 

Miles does have some minor NFL coaching experience, having coached the Dallas Cowboys tight ends from 1998-2000, and we've argued in this space before that his ability to succeed at the "next level" shouldn't be dismissed.

But whatever positives there might be for Miles in making the move to the pro grame, right now they seem entirely dwarfed by the positives waiting for him in his current position. This might not be the last NFL job connected to Miles this offseason, but we don't expect Miles's response to ever be any different.

*We're assuming this is in reference to the Willie Lyles scandal. But we're not 100 percent sure.
Posted on: October 23, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2011 5:11 pm
 

Tebow beats Dolphins on Sun Life "Gator Day"

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



Tim Tebow might have been playing against the Miami Dolphins today in Miami, but as you can see from the crowd shot above, he wasn't exactly lacking for fan support.

Part of that is because he is -- almost without question -- the most popular athlete in Florida Gator history, and while Miami isn't the state's biggest stronghold of Gator fans, they're there. And if you missed this in the run-up, the Dolphins ironically helped ensure that as many of them would be on hand to cheer for the opponent's starting quarterback by naming today "Gator Day" at Sun Life Stadium.

Tebow's first start was, obviously, the main event. But Gator Day also included a celebration of the 2008 Florida national title team, with Urban Meyer and Gator All-American Mike Pouncey in the stadium. Ticket packages sold through Gator alumni clubs included "a Post Game Photo Opportunity with current and former Gator Alumni players from both teams."

Not surprisingly, the Dolphin organization's efforts to pack the stands with fans there to root against the Phins hasn't gone over well with Dolphins diehards, and that bitterness is only going to harden after Tebow threw for two touchdowns, ran for 65 yards, and led the Broncos to an 18-15 win. (We're guessing Hurricanes fans aren't thrilled about the local professional franchise throwing a party for a college fooball team 337 miles to the north, either.)

The show of support may not have been the deciding factor in Tebow's victorious performance Sunday, but it surely didn't hurt--and that's all that will matter to the bevy of Gator fans in the stands, Gator players on hand to offer their support, and the irritated Dolphin fans having to deal with both.


Posted on: May 12, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 8:05 pm
 

NCAA owes it to itself to support NFL owners

Posted by Adam Jacobi

As the days, weeks, and months creep by and the NFL labor situation gets no closer to resolution, diehard NFL fans find themselves in a predicament: what is there to do if there's no pro football? Do they breathe a sigh of relief and count the money they'll end up saving? Do they take up other activities, recommit themselves to family life on weekends, and put sports in general on the back burner? Or do they stare at an upcoming autumn devoid of football, freak out, and find the nearest college team to support until pro ball comes back?

If the NCAA is wise, it'll bank on the last scenario -- that NFL fans are really football fans. Then, it'll throw its full-throated support behind the NFL owners, who are currently fighting tooth-and-nail to protect the lockout they've placed on the players ... and reap the glorious benefits. Let's face it, no business for the NFL is good business for college football, and there are several college programs in particular that stand to benefit immensely from a protracted work stoppage in the pro ranks.

The Miami Hurricanes have a new coach and, um, plenty of seats for displaced NFL fans. Colorado has a new coach and a new conference with new rivals. Minnesota's got a new coach and a two-year-old stadium that makes the Metrodome look like... well, the Metrodome was already terrible, but TCF Bank Stadium is still a major plus for the Gophers. Those are three prime opportunities for athletic departments to encourage new fans to "help us start a new chapter in our future." Think Dolphins, Vikings, and Broncos fans aren't going to notice that opportunity? Especially if college tickets are half as expensive and there are ten times as many gorgeous young women at the tailgates?

The Houston Cougars should have Case Keenum back to finish his quest to break the NCAA passing records. He's just the next step in Houston's tradition of great college quarterbacks (David Klingler, Andre Ware, and to-a-somewhat-lesser-extent-but-he-
was-still-pretty-darned-good Kevin Kolb), and it would be insane for the Cougars not to publicize his assault on the record books on a weekly basis. Besides, no offense to the Texans, but the Cougars are the local team with more football tradition anyway.

Northwestern has billed itself as "Chicago's college football team" recently. That seems a little unfair to the hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans who are alumni of other major universities, but if the Chicago Bears are sitting at home on Sundays, Northwestern turns into the city's ONLY football team. Similarly, the idea of Indiana actually selling out its Memorial Stadium on a regular basis seems like far less of a pipe dream if Lucas Oil Stadium's sitting empty on weekends. Purdue would be happy to accommodate some of those Colts fans too.

The impact of a large influx of fans, if even for a game or two, is not insignificant. 10,000 extra tickets sold for $25 a pop equals a quarter-million dollars in extra ticket revenue alone, to say nothing of concessions, merchandise, and parking fees. That's something some teams can accomplish in one game. And that's just immediate money in. There's also the inroads made with fans, particularly younger ones. Making entreaties to families and younger adults means that the college football program can start cultivating long-lasting fan relationships -- and new donors. The alumni associations can always use the help, after all.

So, athletic directors and college coaches. Line up shoulder-to-shoulder behind the NFL's owners, and stand tall in their support. Then take, take, take from them. College football will be stronger for it.

Posted on: May 3, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Eye on CFB Roundtable: Draft reaches and steals

By Eye on College Football Bloggers

Each week, the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron- style to answer a pressing question regarding the wild, wide world of college football. This week's topic:

We're not NFL scouts. But we have watched most of the players taken in last weekend's draft for the past three or four years (or, in one particular high-profile case, one year). Based on what we saw during their college careers, which players do we believe were "steals" for the team that selected them? Which were "reaches" which went earlier than they should have?

Tom Fornelli: I'll start with the reach because this is an easy answer to me: the very first player taken, Cam Newton.

This is not a dig on Newton personally, or the player he was at Auburn last season. The fact of the matter is that there wasn't a single quarterback in this draft class that I felt was worth a first-round pick. Yes, there were a lot of quarterbacks in this class who were good college quarterbacks, but as we have seen through many examples before, being a good college quarterback doesn't make you an good NFL quarterback. And for me, with the first overall pick -- when I have the opportunity to pick anybody I want, and have that person help my team immediately -- Newton is not the player I'd pick. I'm not saying that I don't believe it's possible that Cam can develop into a good NFL quarterback one day, but I do feel the odds of Newton becoming a Hall of Fame NFL quarterback are pretty slim. And if I'm going to take a quarterback with the first pick of the draft, he needs to give me the impression that he has that kind of potential.

As for the steal, there were a few players who I thought were really good picks for teams in later rounds. There was Green Bay getting Randall Cobb with the final pick of the second round, Da'Quan Bowers slipping to Tampa Bay in the second, and Ahmad Black going to Tampa as well in the fifth round. The biggest steal to me of all, though, was Baltimore picking up Indiana wide receiver Tandon Doss late in the fourth round. In my opinion, Doss may turn out to be one of the most dependable receivers in what was a very deep class this season. He does not have the size and wow factor that guys like A.J. Green and Julio Jones have, nor is he a burner, but he's got great hands and he's a very polished route runner. He's the type of receiver who isn't going to end up in the Hall of Fame, but should pick up a lot of big first downs, make some plays and be dependable for a lot of years. I watch Doss, and I see a player that can be what Hines Ward has been to Pittsburgh for so many years. To get that kind of player in the fourth round is the definition of a steal.

Adam Jacobi: I think to a large degree, Tom's right. I wouldn't go so far as to say there were no first-round QBs in this class, because guys like Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, and even Newton have all shown a great deal of potential. But let's be honest: this wasn't really a great draft class to begin with. I thought there were only 15-20 first round-caliber guys on the board. But the first round is still 32 picks, no matter what, and I don't think there were 32 better draft picks to make before you got to Newton (or any other quarterback).

That said, yes, Cam Newton was a reach. Right now, Carolina is not a team that has the tools to let a quarterback succeed. They have needs all over the place, and if all they do is give up on Jimmy Clausen after one year so they can plug in Cam Newton instead ... well, they're still a team that doesn't have the tools to let the quarterback succeed. (It's like the Detroit Lions drafting Chuck Long and Andre Ware as first-rounders 20-25 years ago. You really think their failures had nothing to do with the crappy players surrounding them?) I'm of the philosophy that the No. 1 overall pick should be spent on a player with the best odds of making a high-level contribution immediately and repeatedly. That means wide receivers and all but the most experienced, productive quarterbacks are out, as are safeties, guards and centers. That's why I would have preferred to see a guy like Texas A&M's Von Miller go first.

As for steals, I'm going to say Nick Fairley dropping all the way to Detroit, where he can be paired with Ndamukong Suh on the interior defensive line. There isn't an NFC North team left that isn't going to have to dramatically retool its blocking strategy now because of that setup, and even that might not be enough to avoid a franchise quarterback getting broken in half this season. How in the world does Fairley fall to No. 13, past Christian Ponder, the real reach of the first round? Fairley didn't dominate the NFL combine, but you know what? Freakish combine measurements don't really matter for defensive tackles. It's whether they can shed blocks reliably and repeatedly at the next level, and based on the way Fairley performed not only during the season but especially in Auburn's biggest games, he's got the ability to do that. If there's a character concern, you know what? Let the rest of the locker room take care of that. That's where the veteran teammates are supposed to step in, not the scouts.

Outside of the first round, I really like the Sam Acho pick in the fourth round by the Cardinals. At 6'2" and 260, Acho's sort of an OLB/DE tweener as size goes, and he's going to be playing OLB in the Cards' 3-4 system after lining up at end at Texas. But he's fast and disruptive, and was plenty productive with the Longhorns, so he could definitely end up being a James Harrison- type terror for the Cardinals in a year or two.

TF: Not to get too far off the subject, but Adam brought up something that drives me crazy when it comes to the NFL and the way teams draft. All too often it seems like NFL teams become enamored with how a player performs in the combine while wearing shorts and a t-shirt. That's the reason Ponder got taken so early; without linemen closing in on him, he's really good at throwing a football. But it seems like they forget about what these players did while they were actually on a football field.

For instance, look at Acho. NFL teams see his size and they're not entirely sure what to do with him. They don't seem to pay as much attention to the fact that Acho was a kid that did his job on the field at Texas and did it well. He made plays. It's why I think Tampa got a steal in Florida's Black. For the last few years, Black was one of my favorite players to watch because he just had that knack for making things happen. However, all NFL scouts seemed to see was that he didn't have top-notch speed. Nevermind the fact that he played in the SEC -- which I believe is the home of that ESS EEE SEEE SPEEEED -- and played well.

Jerry Hinnen: I agree that the draft over-rewards potential and underrates production, which is why I never thought I'd see the day when an NFL team reached for the occasionally erratic run-first quarterback out of the gimmicky option offense, and stole the rifle-armed pocket statue with a former NFL play-caller for a coach. But as the draft day fates of Colin Kaepernick and Ryan Mallett illustrate, there's a first time for everything.

Let me first say this about Kaepernick: as a college quarterback, he was under appreciated, having accumulated an incredible 10,000 yards passing and 4,000 yards rushing over his four years at Nevada, the only quarterback in FBS history to do so. In 2011, he joined Tim Tebow and Newton as the only players in FBS history to run and pass for 20 touchdowns in a season. Kaepernick was, simply, one of the most exciting, most fun, best college football players of his era.

But having watched him ever since he exploded onto the scene against Boise State in 2007's overtime classic, I can't say I ever saw him as a blue-chip NFL prospect. Kaepernick was always a substantially greater threat on the hoof than in the pocket, where his awkward throwing motion and come-and-go accuracy led to outings like his 12-for-23, 149-yard, two-interception clunker to open the 2009 season at Notre Dame, or the 14-for-26, 159-yard, four-turnover debacle at Hawaii that led to the Wolf Pack's only loss of 2011. The greatest strengths of Kaepernick's unique skill set -- his ball-fake jujitsu within the pistol, his surprising speed and agility as a ball-carrier, his ability to throw outside the pocket -- won't do much to make an already difficult transition from the pistol to an NFL offense any easier. Jim Harbaugh's right pinky knows more about quarterbacking in the NFL than I ever will, obviously, but I remain stunned Kaepernick went as a high second-rounder rather than a late-round flyer. (Which brings me to an aside in response to Tom: we can debate Newton all day, but if Kaepernick is the 36th overall pick, Newton -- in a different class athletically, more polished as a passer, proven in SEC competition -- is something akin to the negative-17th pick.)

But where Kaepernick never struck me as meant for NFL stardom (or even starterdom), Mallett is the sort of prospect whose very double-helixes probably unwind to spell out "PROFESSIONAL QUARTERBACK" under the microscope. 6'7", possessor of likely the strongest arm in college football, with his two years under former NFL head coach Bobby Petrino yielding better than 7,400 passing yards, better than 9 yards an attempt, and a 62-to-19 touchdown-to-interception ratio, Mallett couldn't have looked the part of a future NFL signal-caller any better either on the field or on paper. But of course he looked like something else in the headlines and gossip factories, thanks to those pesky drug admissions and work ethic rumors. But the facts are that Mallett was arrested just once at Arkansas (for public intoxication), was never suspended, and by all accounts enjoyed the respect of his teammates. Yes, he's a character risk, but so were plenty of players who went in the first and second rounds.

Were I in a quarterback-needy NFL team's shoes, I'd worry more about his penchant for forcing the spectacular throw when the easy one would do--but that's not the kind of worry that would have caused me to pass him up twice.

AJ: I can't say New England taking Mallett is a steal. He's on a spectrum where the high end is Drew Bledsoe and the low is Ryan Leaf, and nowhere in-between is a Super Bowl ring.

Chip Patterson: I'm not sure if it was one of the biggest "steals" of the draft, but seeing how highly rated Robert Quinn was on many boards, the Rams had to have been happy to grab him at No. 14. Quinn just got things going at North Carolina before he was suspended for his junior season during the NCAA investigation of the football program; he'd finished second in the ACC Defensive Player of the Year voting as a sophomore in 2009, just two years after battling back from brain surgery to remove a tumor. Quinn continued to impress throughout different stages of the process, but according to reports he was not cleared by several team doctors. Many teams were likely on the edge about Quinn because of the off-field activity at North Carolina, and may have just needed one more reason to bypass the budding defensive end. Battling back from brain surgery to all-conference honors seems more like a positive intangible than a negative one to me, but I'm not the one making the million dollar moves. (Yet.)

My colleagues have covered a fair share of the quarterbacks, so I'll point out the very next pick in the draft: Mike Pouncey. The Dolphins didn't want this pick, and in fact they tried desperately to trade down. Pouncey addresses a need and will likely be an immediate starter, but there's little about Pouncey's performance at Florida that makes him seem like a No. 15 pick. He was the highest drafted center since 1993, the kind of accolade that's usually placed on a uniquely talented individual. Pouncey will help the Dolphins' running game, especially with his experience as a pulling guard, but he does not stand out to me as a "unique talent." The Dolphins didn't make a huge mistake by drafting him, but it just doesn't seem like the best talent for the pick.

JH: See, I tend to think the point of a mid-first-round pick is to simply not make that "huge mistake," so I thought drafting a solid future pro (if not a future Pro Bowler) like Pouncey was a smart move. But looking back over this discussion, we're clearly all haters of one stripe or another.

Posted on: April 12, 2011 1:11 pm
 

Michigan looking to work on its tan

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Michigan has already scheduled a game against Alabama to be played at Cowboys Stadium in 2012, and now that they've got a date in Texas it seems that the Wolverines are looking to get another neutral site game in another high school football hotbed. According to the Naples News, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon is in preliminary discussions with Miami Dolphins owner, and Michigan alum, Stephen Ross about playing a game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.

“We’ve had some preliminary discussions with Stephen Ross about whether or not it would be possible to come down here and play a game,” Brandon told the paper. “We don’t have anything scheduled, but that’s something we’d consider because this is an important recruiting area for us as well.”

As Brandon said in the quote, there is no word on when Michigan would be playing this game, nor whom Michigan would be playing. All the Wolverines care about at the moment is getting a game in Miami to give the school a bigger presence in the fertile recruiting grounds of southern Florida.

Of course, it's not as though the Wolverines haven't already had success recruiting in Florida. Rich Rodriguez proved to be pretty good at plucking talent from the Sunshine State and bringing them up to Cloudy With A Chance Of Flurries State. You don't have to look past Michigan's starting quarterback, Denard Robinson of Deerfield Beach, to see the kind of talent Michigan has already been able to nab.

 
 
 
 
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