Tag:Middle Tennessee State
Posted on: November 8, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 3:43 pm

Keys to the Game: Tennessee at Arkansas

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

TENNESSEE WILL WIN IF: Tyler Bray finds the broken thumb miracle cure between now and Saturday. The Vols' sophomore starter hasn't played since his team's loss to Georgia Oct. 8, and though he got his hard cast off this week, it doesn't sound like he's going to be nearly ready to play against the Hogs. But the Vols might not have a prayer without him: in the three SEC games Bray has missed, backups Matt Simms and Justin Worley have combined to complete 39.5 percent of their passes and post a 0-to-5 TD-to-INT ratio. Yes, those three SEC games came against teams with far better defenses than Arkansas's -- LSU's, Alabama's, and South Carolina's, in fact -- but two of them also came at home. It's also not like the Vols' 118th-ranked rushing game (fresh off averaging all of 2.67 yards per-carry vs. Middle Tennessee State) is going to be much help. Unless Bray can find a witch doctor or mad scientist or special magnetic wristband that fixes his thumb in time, it's awfully hard -- and just about impossible -- to see the Vols winning this game.

ARKANSAS WILL WIN IF: they can just avoid catastrophic mistakes. Maybe easier said than done, of course, if you saw Tyler Wilson do this vs. Carolina last Saturday:

Wilson isn't the only Hog to have turnover issues of late: Dennis Johnson's fumbles helped keep both Vanderbilt and Ole Miss in those respective games. If Wilson, Johnson or any other butter-fingered Hog set the Vols up with short fields or throw away scoring opportunities, the Vols have shown -- in their 6-6 halftime tie with Alabama -- that they can hang around with better teams, even on the road.

Hang around long enough to win it? Probably not, but where turnovers are involved, never say never. Wilson and Co. have to make sure they aren't.

THE X-FACTOR: Jake Bequette. The Razorbacks' preseason All-SEC defensive end had suffered an injury-plagued and disappointing season until last Saturday, when he roared to life with three sacks of Connor Shaw and the game-clinching forced fumble. If Bequette terrorizes poor Worley or Simms the way he terrorized Shaw, the Vols really, really have no hope.

Posted on: November 7, 2011 3:24 pm

Vols make call for last-minute kicker

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

run-of-the-mill 24-0 victory Saturday over Middle Tennessee State wasn't the sort of game that anyone, even Volunteer fans, would likely remember for very long. But that was before Derek Dooley revealed how the Vols came by their lone field goal and three successful extra points.

The kicker in question, redshirt freshman walk-on Derrick Brodus, had never played a down of college football before Saturday and grew up a soccer star in nearby Maryville. He wasn't even part of the Volunteer's gameday roster and wasn't even listed on the depth chart. Which is why he wasn't even at Neyland Stadium an hour before kickoff--he was alseep on his couch preparing to watch the Vols take on the Blue Raiders on TV.

“Oh, he was definitely asleep,” said Brodus's friend Daniel Sullivan. “We’d just been sitting there all day, watching some football and some soccer.”

It was about that time -- an hour before kickoff -- that regular Tennessee kicker Michael Palardy was ruled out for the game with an injury suffered during the week in practice and backup walk-on Chip Rhome hurt himself in warm-ups. Result: "an APB out for Brodus," as Dooley put it.

"We had to make a call to the frat house," Dooley said. "This is no lie. We called the frat house and had a policeman go get him."

"I was just laying on the couch, and people came in, and I didn't know what was going on," Brodus said. ""I thought I was having a dream."

If it had been a dream, it was an awfully good one: Brodus went 3-for-3 on extra points, hit a 21-yard field goal to end the first half, and received a game ball. Monday he was named one of two Vols' special teams players of the week.

Not bad for a guy who wasn't even planning on watching the entire Tennessee game; Brodus admitted he and Sullivan's plan was to watch the first half of the MTSU game and then go out with some friends to watch LSU and Alabama.

"I mean, we’re 100 percent Vols, through and through,” Sullivan said. "But Bama-LSU ... I mean ... that’s basically the national championship, you know? You gotta watch that."

Not if you're on the Neyland field living out your dream, you don't. Here's video of Brodus's post-game comment to the press:

For more on the story, we recommend this highly detailed account by Wes Rucker at GoVols247, which includes the immortal Dooley quote "I told the coaches, ‘Hey, an intoxicated Brodus is better than nobody. Get him. Just get him here, and we’ll do a breathalyzer.’"

Video HT: Sportsgrid.
Posted on: January 20, 2011 3:51 pm

Coaching hires show Sun Belt still FBS's worst

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

College football fans love to chatter about which of the 11 FBS conferences is best. They get much less excited to discuss which of them is worst, though for the few who do, this past bowl season provided some quality fodder when the two leagues generally considered the FBS's weakest -- the MAC and Sun Belt -- squared off in three different bowl games. The Sun Belt came out ahead 2-1, with Troy dominating Ohio and FIU winning a 34-32 barnburner over Toledo. (MAC champion Miami (Ohio) did cruise past Middle Tennessee State for the Midwestern league's victory in the MAC-SBC "Challenge.") Case closed?

Not even close. This week the College Football Blog reviewed all 22 (or 21, if you don't count Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia) new head coaching hires in our Headset Reset series , and that review turned up something interesting about the Sun Belt and the MAC: namely, that the MAC is making much stronger coaching hires.

First, look at the MAC's new coaches : two of them are coordinators from two of the 2010 Big Ten co-champions; one was the offensive coordinator and highest-ranking assistant for Urban Meyer's national-title winning program at Florida ; one was a longtime position coach and ace recruiter for Ohio State; and the "weakest" of the hires on paper, Ball State's Pete Lembo, is a 40-year-old coach with 10 years of successful head coaching experience on the FCS level already under his belt.

Contrast that with the Sun Belt's three choices: one a promotion from within the Arkansas State staff, one a potentially past-his-prime Florida position coach, the other the Mississippi State wide receivers coach.

All three of those hires could prove to be shrewd (it's not as if Dan McCarney and Mark Hudspeth don't have quality head coaching experience to draw on, and Hugh Freeze has been knocking on the door of his own head coaching gig for years). But if the MAC is to the Big Ten as the Sun Belt is to the SEC, then you'd have seen the SBC hiring the SEC equivalents of Don Treadwell or Dave Doeren (pictured at right), well-regarded college-first coordinators like Manny Diaz or John Chavis or Mike Bobo. That's not happening. In fact, the only 2010 SEC coordinator to take a head coaching job this offseason went to ... Temple.

(As an aside, this might also be an indication of the relative strength of the Big Ten and SEC; where SEC schools are willing to pay top dollar to retain their best assistants and keep them out of the clutches of smaller schools, the Big Ten watches the likes of Treadwell and Doeren walk away.)

The Sun Belt's bowl performance was nice. But until they show they can land the same caliber of coaching talent as their Midwestern counterparts (or, more easily, the WAC says its official goodbyes to Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii) they should continue to be regarded at the bottom of the FBS conference barrel.

Posted on: January 7, 2011 7:07 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2011 7:22 pm

CBS Bowl Bonanza: Cotton Bowl

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Basics: Texas A&M (9-3) vs. LSU (10-2), Jan 7., 8:00 ET

Why You Should Watch: If you're going to the game, you can enjoy the spectacle and experience that is Jerry Jones' masterpiece, Cowboys Stadium. Of course, if you're going, you don't need to be told why to watch, so you can probably click to another article now. EVERYBODY ELSE: Watch this game. Not only is it the only college football game of the day, but its bookends are Thursday's Miami University - Middle Tennessee State pillow fight and tomorrow's clash of the titans between Pittsburgh and Kentucky. Two 6-6 teams facing two teams replacing their coaches. Yeah, you'll want to watch A&M-LSU.

But past all that, LSU has been one of the most must-see teams of the season, with head coach Les Miles turning his endgames into odd exhibitions of anarchy and chaos that end up working out 60% of the time. Imagine this: one-possession game in either favor, ball at either 40-yard line, and 3:45 left on the clock. Are you turning this game off? Of course you're not.

Keys to Victory for LSU: For all the disorder that has characterized the 2010 season, one immutable constant has been LSU's stingy defense. When the Tigers haven't been facing the T-1000 Cam Newton Cyborg, they've been shutting down opponents at prodigious rates; on the entire season, LSU is tenth in the nation in scoring defense and eighth in overall defense, while ranking in the top 20 in passing efficiency defense, rushing defense, sacks, and tackles for loss. This team does not have systemic deficiencies on defense.

That's good, because the Tigers will be tested on defense by a physically talented but inconsistent Aggie offense. Texas A&M has achieved more offensive balance with Ryan Tannehill at QB than when Jerrod Johnson was healthy, but while that's usually just a euphemism for "he's a worse quarterback," Tannehill is actually competent under center, and it's no surprise that A&M has gone on a six-game winning streak (including wins against four bowl teams) with him back there. If the LSU secondary can force mistakes and turnovers, the Tigers will be in good shape, but that's easier said than done; Tannehill hasn't thrown a pick in over 100 straight attempts. That streak may come to an end tonight, but it's not like 13-30 with 4 INTs is a plausible final line.

Keys to Victory for Texas A&M: For all the struggling the Aggies did against Nebraska 's defense in that 9-6 atrocity, they did manage 19 first downs in the affair, and odds are that if the Aggies replicate that effort in moving the chains, they'll score enough to stay in the game for four quarters. And, again, that's when the fun begins when Les Miles is on the other sideline.

The real challenge, then, is going to be getting the ground game going with Cyrus Gray against elite front-level defenders like Drake Nevis and Kelvin Sheppard -- two guys who have made running between the tackles a nightmare for opponents all season long. The Aggies aren't exactly a spread-and-shred type of team, so they'll have to get their yards by grinding and breaking tackles, or anything else in their repertoire to keep LSU from sitting back and taking away the passing game. Want to see how this game goes for Texas A&M? Just watch where the point of attack moves during the first quarter; if Nevis and company are in the backfield with any regularity, it's going to be a long day for the Aggies.

The Cotton Bowl is like: the senior prom. Prom isn't the apex of one's high school arc, and neither is the Cotton Bowl for the bowl season. But they're awfully close, calendar-wise, and this is one of the last chances to see something magical happen. Everyone's getting all dressed up, they're headed to one of the fanciest places in town, and they're going to have one crazy night while they can. Further, if you've ever seen the way a typical high school senior talks to girls, it's remarkably similar to how Les Miles coaches at the end of the game: it's desperate, astonishing, and far more successful than it has any right to be.

Posted on: January 6, 2011 3:07 pm

Miss. St. replaces Diaz with DL coach Wilson

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When Dan Mullen was in the market for a new defensive coordinator last offseason, he surprised many by plucking away then-nearly-unheard of coordinator from Middle Tennessee State named Manny Diaz. Diaz's highly impressive single season in Starkville got him hired away by Texas yesterday afternoon, but this time Mullen isn't getting nearly so creative in naming a replacement:

There's lots of reasons to think this decision will work out just fine; Wilson is due to step up to a coordinator's chair after several highly productive years coaching the defensive lines at both Oklahoma and State, and his promotion will give the Bulldogs desirable continuity both in their defensive game-planning and late-cycle recruiting (which, at the moment looks dramtically shakier following Diaz's exit). Also, obviously, Mullen ought to know better than anyone whether Wilson is coordinator material.

At the same time, that Mullen had so much success last go-round looking outside his staff means he might be selling himself short by not even conducting a search. It seems much more likely for Wilson to succeed than not, but if he doesn't, some will wonder if Mullen didn't act a bit too quickly here.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 6:01 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 6:09 pm

Blue Raiders enjoy GoDaddy.com bowl festivities

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Typically, the College Football Blog covers either the hard news that matters or the goofy news that makes you laugh, and doesn't bother with the day-to-day, more run-of-the-mill stories inbetween.

But we're going to relay this one to you on Middle Tennessee State's week at the GoDaddy.com Bowl anyway, because so much of the public reaction to the smaller-rung bowls of the world seems to be either 1. there are too many of these bowls clogging up the schedule and demeaning the meaning of bowl games 2. the smaller teams playing these bowls can't afford them and should simply not go.

There's something to be said about the latter point -- ticket guarantees are a nasty bit of business on the part of the bowls, and indirectly on the ESPN megalith that keeps them in business -- but these arguments almost always miss the point that whatever the negatives, there's no question that there's a huge positive in how much the players involved appreciate the experience. As the story from the Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Daily News-Journal illustrates:
MTSU defensive lineman Jarrett Crittenton was excited about the team activities leading up to Thursday's GoDaddy.com Bowl .

At least he was until the 6-foot-6, 290-pounder nearly got stuck in the cramped doorway inside a submarine during the Blue Raiders' visit to Battleship Memorial Park Monday.

"That was crazy," Crittenton said. "Everything was so tight in there, and I'm so big. I didn't know if I would make it out of there and make it to the bowl game.

"But this is fun. This isn't just practicing and playing a game like we usually do" ...

Today, the Blue Raiders will have a bowling outing and selected players will visit the Children's Hospital. And on Wednesday, the teams will attend the mayor's luncheon, where the guest speaker will be GoDaddy.com spokeswoman and racecar driver Danica Patrick .

That raised the eyebrows of a few MTSU players.

"To us, Danica Patrick is No. 1 obviously," receiver Wes Caldwell said. "We're all waiting on her coming here. But all these things we're doing are great.

"I loved the battleship. It was amazing. But I'm afraid of heights, so I couldn't handle it when I got way up there on top. The submarine was cool, but there was no room to move. This is part of the bowl trip, and we love it."
No, the news that various Blue Raiders are enjoying a tour of an old submarine and are looking forward to meeting Danica Patrick isn't going to shove Rich Rodriguez out of the headlines. But it's worth remembering anyway the next time some pundit or another suggests contracting a bowl out of existence; sure, there might be some benefits, but it's worth asking if they outweigh denying two teams of players who worked their tails off all season some modicum of reward, however meager the payoff of the GoDaddy.com Bowl might seem.

Posted on: November 30, 2010 7:26 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2010 7:32 pm

Self: Big East was set to take Kansas, others

Posted by Adam Jacobi

At the height of conference realignment talks last year, there was real concern that Texas (and most of the other Big XII South schools) would flee the conference for -- pardon the pun -- greener pastures, leaving the schools up north wondering what their next move would be. Six conference members doth not a viable conference make, after all, and there was real concern that schools like Iowa State or Kansas State would have to suffer the indignity of joining a non-AQ conference.

Fortunately, as Kansas basketball coach Bill Self told listeners on his weekly radio show yesterday, his Jayhawks' AQ status was never in doubt -- and nor was that of Missouri, KSU, and ISU. When asked about TCU and its move to the Big East, Self said that if the Big 12 folded, those schools would have been offered a spot in the Big East. And further, Self thinks the Big East was smart to make those offers, because it was the only way to ensure the Big Ten doesn't kill the Big East's football program.

Audio, courtesy of the IMG Jayhawk Network, is below. Those interested in the full show may listen through Jayhawks All-Access ($$).

If you can't listen, here's the full text of Self's statement, with minor alterations for clarity's sake:

To be honest with you, Kansas could have been making the same announcement today that TCU made. And Kansas State could have been in there too, because the feeling that we got -- or we had, when the conference realignment was going on, that if by chance, Texas would have gone to the Pac-10 and we would have stayed buddies with Kansas State and not separated and done all that stuff, then the Big East would have came and gotten us, and KSU, and Iowa State, and Missouri. Which, in theory, you say, 'Oh god, the Big East, bad travel.' They would have gone to divisions, so we would have had divisions with probably the teams that are close, and maybe Louisville and Cincinnati or whatever.

And I think that's smart on the Big East's part, because the Big Ten's still going to go poach somebody, and when they poach somebody it's going to be a football-playing school, and if that number goes beneath eight, then I believe -- I could be wrong -- but I believe then they're not eligible for the BCS bid. So they're covering themselves to make sure that whenever the Big Ten does whatever they do, they'll still have enough football-playing schools to make sure that they keep their BCS football bid alive. So I think it's a smart move, and probably great for TCU, so I see no problems with it.

Although there had been rumors to this extent back in the spring and summer, this is the first time that a school official has not only addressed the rumor that the Big East was set to invite the wayward Big 12 North schools, but out-and-out confirmed it. And as Self mentioned, with the Big Ten purportedly sniffing around for expansion targets out east, the Big East needed to either go into buyer mode or prepare to get out of the business of football altogether. While some college football fans might have preferred the latter, the Big East would have lost an automatic qualifier bid and all the money it entails, so that was never really going to happen.

And above all else, this should at least reassure fans of those four schools that even if the Big 12 had folded, the day that ISU or Missouri would have had to share a conference with Wyoming or Middle Tennessee State was never really going to happen; there had always been another BCS conference waiting, and there probably still will be if this latest iteration of the Big 12 doesn't work over the next few years. The arms race probably isn't over yet.

Posted on: September 1, 2010 11:30 am
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:21 pm

Minnesota could start a brand new D Thursday

Posted by Chip Patterson

Golden Gopher fans new that they were going to see some fresh faces on the field when Minnesota kicks off their season Thursday night against Middle Tennessee State.  After Tuesday it's very possible they will be starting an entirely new defense.

The Golden Gophers entered the season needing to replace nine starters on the defensive side of the ball, with only safeties Tim Royston and Kyle Theret returning from 2009.  Royston is still rehabbing from a broken leg suffered in spring practice, and his status for Thursday night is unknown.  To make matters worse, on Tuesday Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster announced that Theret would sit out season opener as part of his continued suspension for drunken driving charges in March.

Theret led the team in interceptions and recorded tackles in 2009, and the Gophers could use his experience on the field.  But Brewster says that Thursday's game is an extension of Theret's "indefinite" suspension, and has yet to put a timetable on his return.  Starting offensive tackle Dom Alford was also suspended for Thursdays game for violating unspecified team rules.  

If there is any upside to this story for Minnesota fans, it's that their brand new defense will not have to face Middle Tennessee State's star dual-threat quarterback Dwight Dasher.  Dasher was suspended for the first three games for failing to pay back a gambling debt.
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