Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:25 am
Edited on: February 13, 2012 10:26 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
With Spring Practice only a few weeks away, USC head coach Lane Kiffin had three open coaching spots and little time to fill them. As of Sunday, he had filled two of the spots, hiring North Dakota State defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton to coach linebackers and Florida Atlantic defensive coordinator Marvin Sanders to coach defensive backs, according to multiple reports including the LA Times.
The pair replace Joe Barry, who left to coach linebackers for the San Diego Chargers, and fill a void left after Willie Mack Garza resigned as the secondary coach right before the 2011 season.
Hazelton spent six years with the Bison, the last two coordinating the defense and won the FCS championship last season. Sanders spent only two months at Florida Atlantic, following Carl Pelini from Nebraska where he served as defensive backs coach for four seasons and sent several players to NFL. In addition to his stop in Lincoln, Sanders also served as defensive coordinator for two seasons at North Carolina.
The school has not officially confirmed the hires but numerous recruits were told during USC's Junior Day on Sunday.
The Trojans begin spring practice on March 6th. Kiffin still has to find a replacement for wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore, who left to take the same position with the Oakland Raiders.
Posted on: February 7, 2012 9:27 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 9:31 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Just a few days after losing linebackers coach Joe Barry to the NFL, USC is down another staff member after wide receiver Ted Gilmore accepted the same position with the Oakland Raiders, a source told CBSSports.com.
Gilmore, 44, came to USC just a year ago from Nebraska, where he spent six years coaching receivers and four holding the role of recruiting coordinator.
A Wichita, Kansas native, Gilmore played his college ball at Wyoming before starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant there. He also had stops at Kansas, Houston, Purdue and Colorado before his stint at Nebraksa.
Under Gilmore, USC's receiving corps had a breakout year in 2011. Sophomore Robert Woods developed into a Biletnikoff Award finalist and teammate Marqise Lee was named a Freshman All-American. Whoever takes Gilmore's spot will not only have those two to work with but former prep All-American George Farmer and incoming five-star athlete Nelson Agholor.
Head coach Lane Kiffin, in addition to Gilmore and Barry's spots, is also looking for a defensive backs coach. The Trojans' Spring practice starts in just four weeks as the team likely heads into 2012 as a pre-season top two team.
The Raiders are becoming familiar with poaching Pac-12 assistants having hired former Stanford defensive coordinator Jason Tarver on Monday.
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Posted on: March 23, 2011 2:08 pm
Edited on: March 23, 2011 2:44 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice. So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at USC, who started spring practice last Friday.
Spring Practice Question: Is there depth on both sides of the ball in year two of the Lane Kiffin era?
At a time when most college students were just waking up for their first class of the day, quarterback Matt Barkley lofted a beautiful deep ball to wide receiver Robert Woods to wrap up USC's first spring practice. The perfectly thrown post route was one of the few things the Trojans looked sharp at during their first early morning workout, which began at 7:30 a.m.
"Kiffin always wants to end on a bang," Barkley said. "We're just getting used to it. There should be better tempo in the days to come."
Many USC players arrive at the football facilities at 5 a.m. to stretch and get taped before heading to meetings at 6 a.m. The practices are similar to how Pac-10 rival Oregon operates but Kiffin's idea switch to the early practices was not a result of what the Ducks have been doing.
"It's actually something, over the last couple of years, that I wanted to do," Kiffin said. "Because of class schedules you have to do it a year in advance because of registration and to block these hours. At Tennessee we wanted to do it but we weren't there for a full year before spring. It's something I want to look at in the spring and could be a possibility for the fall."
Although Kiffin hasn't made up his mind on the practice schedule this fall, he is hoping several of his players are able to get some playing time in before the spring ends. After battling a general lack of numbers and several injuries throughout last season, the Trojans will limit full contact drills and do more 7-on-7 in place of full team periods.
“The scary thing is, we’re 19 short and we just started," Kiffin said. "Usually you’re short at the end of spring. Hopefully we don’t add to that list, and possibly get some guys back.”
A 20th player, tailback Marc Tyler is likely to be added to the list after aggravating his hamstring muscle while stretching out for a pass on the first day. One young player who could use the opening to get into the mix at running back is redshirt freshman D.J. Morgan. Fully recovered from knee surgery his senior year in high school, Morgan is reportedly the fastest player on the team and could be a nice change of pace back to pair with a bruiser like Tyler. Also in the mix is Dillon Baxter, who hopes to rebound from a disappointing freshman campaign and translate some of the talent that made him a YouTube sensation in his first season.
Paving the way for the backfield is a talented but limited group of offensive lineman. Starting left tackle Matt Kalil is healthy and is looking to build on a very solid debut season protecting Barkley's blind side. Returning starter Khaled Holmes will receive snaps at both guard and center but will be limited the first few weeks with a neck stinger. Center Abe Markowitz and guard/tackle Kevin Graf will sit out some or all of spring practice due to injuries. Some reinforcements have arrived in junior college transfers David Garness and Jeremy Galten. The two should provide added depth but they must quickly get up to speed with the offensive terminology.
Things aren't much better, depth-wise, across the trenches on the defensive line. Tackle Christian Tupou will be limited while recovering from a knee surgery last season and defensive end Wes Horton will also miss part of spring practice with a foot injury. Defensive end Armond Armstead is being held out after being hospitalized for a heart condition and hopes to be cleared by doctors by the end of the month. Position coach Ed Orgeron is looking to get the most out of the group that is practicing, including talented defensive end Nick Perry and defensive tackle DaJohn "Juicy" Harris.
Linebackers Chris Galippo, Devon Kennard and Shane Horton will also watch most of spring practice from the sideline. Though all three are expected to start in the fall, their vacant positions will allow many of the younger players to receive extra repetitions and build a bit of depth at a position that has had it lacking for several years. Marquis Simmons, Hayes Pullard and safety-turned-linebacker Dion Bailey are three of the players the coaching staff has high hopes for and expects to get better with the added practice time.
"Even though it's a bummer that those guys missed, it's kind of a blessing in disguise that we can get the young guys a bunch of work," linebackers coach Joe Barry said. "At linebacker, it's all about reps and seeing things 1,000 times. The only way you can see things 1,000 times is if you get snaps. The young guys are getting a bunch of work so it's actually good for us."
The secondary is probably the healthiest of any of the position groups and has several players who should compete for playing time. Safeties Marshall Jones, T.J. McDonald, Jawanza Starling and Demetrius Wright are a talented, physical group that gives defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin a lot of flexibility on the back end. Though senior starter Shareece Wright is off to the NFL, Nickell Robey, Tony Burnett and Brian Baucham all have experience at cornerback and redshirt freshman Anthony Brown has looked good in practice as well.
The defensive backs usually has their hands full going against a fast group of wide receivers every day. A freshman All-American, Woods has easily become the number one option on offense and is - quite simply - a playmaker with the ball in his hands. Brandon Carswell, De'Von Flournoy and Markeith Ambles should all contribute for new receivers coach Ted Gilmore but red zone target Kyle Prater will be sidelined with a foot injury. Senior tight end Rhett Ellison will be an integral part of the offense and don't be surprised to see youngsters Christian Thomas, Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer involved in two tight end sets.
With a deep group of weapons on offense, USC is looking to experiment with more of a spread-based attack this spring. The coaching staff is hoping that Barkley's third year of spring practice and an offense that relies the quarterback making plays translates into an even better season this fall.
"He needs to take the next step from being a really good quarterback to a great quarterback," Kiffin said. "Last year he improved a lot on his decision making and you saw his touchdown to interception ratio increase dramatically. Now he needs to do that again and take a leadership role and put everything on his back. He did that at times last year but now he just needs to be more consistent with that."
Left somewhat unsaid by the coaches and the players however, is the status of USC's NCAA infractions appeal. The Trojans are hoping to play in a bowl game this upcoming season and have asked for several scholarships back from their original penalties stemming from the Reggie Bush case. It has been nine weeks since USC argued their case in front of the Infractions Appeals Committee and it's very likely that the team will have to deal with a decision coming in the middle of spring practice.
"I haven't thought about it in awhile," Barkley said. "It's not affecting how I'm playing right now. We're obviously hoping for the best in whatever comes out of that situation but it's not affecting how we're getting ready for the season."
In the mean time, the work in and around Heritage Hall continues. There's no new system to learn on either side of the ball and the coaching staff returns mostly intact so the Trojans' focus this spring is mostly on themselves. Kiffin hopes to find some depth in his second year as head coach and there's certainly some talent on the roster.
Despite being down in numbers, there's some depth this season for USC. Only time will tell how much there really is though.
Tags: Abe Markowitz, Armond Armstead, Brandon Carsell, brian Baucham, Chris Galippo, Christian Thomas, Christian Tupou, Cody Kessler, D.J. Morgan, DaJohn Harris, David Garness, De'Von Flournoy, Demetrius Wright, Devon Kennard, Dillon Baxter, Dion Bailey, Ed Orgeron, Hayes Pullard, Infractions Appeal Committee, Jawanza Starling, Jeremy Galten, Jesse Scroggins, Joe Barry, Kevin Graf, Khaled Holmes, Kyle Prater, Marc Tyler, Markeith Ambles, Marquis Simmons, Marshall Jones, Matt Barkley, Matt Kalil, Max Wittek, Mitch Mustain, NCAA, Nick Perry, Nickell Robey, Oregon, Pac-10, Randall Telfer, Reggie Bush, Rhett Ellison, Robert Woods, Shane Horton, Shareece Wright, Spring Practice, Spring Practice Primer, T.J. McDonald, Ted Gilmore, Tennessee, Tony Burnett, USC, Wes Horton, Xavier Grimble
Posted on: February 9, 2011 11:09 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
In today's edition of "As the Nebraska Coaching Roster Turns " (or "General Huskpital," if you prefer), we find that the long-rumored alterations to the Husker coaching staff -- the departure of offensive coordinator Shawn Watson foremost among them -- are now all but official, according to this report from the Omaha World-Herald :
Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini has completed his revamped coaching staff, according to a source close to the program, though he’s waiting on university protocol to make an announcement ...
The defensive additions you know about already ; Corey Raymond will coach the secondary and Ross Els the linebackers. And one element of the offensive reshuffling is all but a done deal, as the World-Herald reports that running backs coach Tim Beck is "the leading candidate" to take over as the Huskers' offensive coordinator and play-caller after Notre Dame assistant Ed Warriner chose to stay in South Bend. The identity of the two new assistants, however, appears to be still up in the air.
But where does that leave Watson? At least Pelini appears to be making an effort to find his soon-to-be-former assistant a soft landing:
Meanwhile, the source said, Pelini is working to help land offensive coordinator Shawn Watson a job in the NFL.
So that's nice. Maybe not as nice as letting Watson keep his job (or telling recruits up front that he was in the process of reshuffling the staff), but it's something.
Posted on: February 7, 2011 3:09 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
So you remember that job opening at Nebraska for an offensive coordinator that Bo Pelini had no idea about, yet was seeking out candidates for? Yeah, that one. Well, former Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost had emerged as a candidate for the job last week, but the word is that Frost is going to stay at Oregon where he is currently a receivers coach.
It seems that even though Pelini doesn't know of any job opening, that didn't stop him from meeting with Frost over the weekend about the possibility of Frost coming back to Lincoln. It seems the deal-breaker was that Frost didn't want to come back to Nebraska unless it was for the offensive coordinator position, but that's not what Pelini was offering.
No, it seems that Pelini is preparing to give that job to current running backs coach Tim Beck, though Pelini has also spoken to former Kansas offensive coordinator Ed Warinner about the position as well. That is, if the open position actually existed. Which it doesn't, right coach Pelini? Wink, wink.
As of now, current offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and receivers coach Ted Gilmore have not been relieved of their duties -- at least not publically -- but all indications are that they will be in the near future.
Posted on: February 5, 2011 12:38 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
There's been quite a bit of speculation about coaching changes in the works at Nebraska in the last few days. During Nebraska's post-signing day dinner, three assistant coaches were all absent. Secondary coach Marvin Sanders was one, and he's already announced his resignation and been replaced by Indiana's Corey Raymond. The other two coaches were offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and receivers coach Ted Gilmore, so naturally, people are now wondering what the future of those two is in Lincoln, or whether they even have any.
Especially when job postings for an assistant football coach are popping up on Nebraska's website. One's asking for somebody who would be "responsible for offensive game preparation, on-field strategies and game tactics. Conduct student-athlete recruiting, monitor academic progress of current student athletes and provide instruction to team in the execution of offensive schemes and techniques."
Of course, when asked about this job posting on Friday, Bo Pelini told the Omaha World-Herald that he had no idea what it was talking about.
“What job posting?” Pelini told the paper. ”That could be for an internship or it could be that (Jeff) Jamrog (assistant AD for football) put that up there. Sometimes when we have lower-level openings, we do that.”
Yes, a lower-level opening or internship that will involve game preparation and recruiting. Something tells me that Pelini isn't exactly being truthful. Especially when you take into consideration the fact that Larry Frost has also told the Omaha World-Herald that his son Scott Frost, the former Nebraska quarterback, has interviewed with Nebraska about a job. Scott Frost is currently receivers coach at Oregon, and according to his father, while he'd love to coach at Nebraska, he wouldn't leave for anything other than a coordinator position.
Which means that Bo Pelini is interviewing a lot of coaches for a job opening he doesn't even know exists.
Posted on: February 3, 2011 2:17 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Signing Day at Nebraska was plenty celebration-worthy when it came to the actual signing: the Huskers inked one of the Big Ten's best classes, and maybe the program's strongest since the 2007 haul that netted Prince Amukamara and Jared Crick.
But that didn't keep one local columnist from calling the day "awkward" and "uncomfortable" for Bo Pelini and the Huskers all the same, thanks to some questions swirling around the makeup of the Nebraska coaching staff.
Those start with the status of current Husker secondary coach Marvin Sanders. New Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson said Wednesday that Hoosier assistant Corey Raymond would be departing Bloomington for Lincoln to join Pelini's staff, and what's more, he'd be coaching the secondary. So where does that leave Sanders? Pelini :
"I'll address any staff questions at another time ... This is not the time or the place."Given that "is this coach a member of your staff?" isn't exactly a complicated question, it's fair that the situation itself is complicated. Sanders was also a no-show at a recruiting event Wednesday night, though offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and receivers coach Ted Gilmore were also missing-in-action, sparking (still unfounded) rumors that Pelini had decided to initiate a more comprehensive staff overhaul.
Adding more fuel to the fire: per the above-linked Lincoln Journal-Star column , Pelini has already spoken to Oregon assistant and former Husker quarterback hero Scott Frost about potentially making to move to Lincoln.
But where Sanders looks likely to be on his way out (and the under-fire Watson may follow), another coach looks likely to be on his way in. Ohio linebackers coach Ross Els -- assistant to former Nebraska head coach Frank Solich and a former colleague of current Husker defensive coordinator Carl Pelini when Pelini was on staff at Ohio -- has emerged as the leading candidate to replace previous linebackers coach Mike Ekeler, who left Lincoln to coach at ... wait for it ... Indiana.
It's a tangled web the situation here is weaving. But there's a chance it becomes more tangled still before we know exactly who'll be coaching the Huskers in 2011.