Posted on: February 25, 2011 2:45 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.
FOUR LINKS ...
1. Future scheduling is very much in the news today, with discussions about moving the new Big 12's biggest in-state rivalry games to Dec. 3 and the Big East finally releasing its 2011 slate. But maybe nowhere is it more in the news than at Nevada, which is desperately trying to work its way out of a brutal road stretch (at Oregon, at Texas Tech, at Boise State, all back-to-back-to-back) ... but still found the time to tentatively schedule a home-and-home series with Oregon State for 2017 and 2018. (Is there a way to schedule them for that far ahead that wouldn't be tentative?)
2. Yes, Virginia, when you would have already been the clearcut No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, you need some kind of insurance policy when you decide to go back to school. Andrew Luck's is worth $5 million already and could wind up being worth even more , depending on the new NFL collective bargaining agreement.
3. Your weekly Friday Four Links position coaching update: former Minnesota assistant John Butler is South Carolina's new special teams coordinator ; Louisville defensive line coach Clint Hurtt will not be accepting Auburn's offer of the same position following Tracy Rocker's departure; which means former Butler colleague with the Gophers Tim Cross is, by process of elimination , the likely front-runner on the Plains; and well-traveled assistant Danny Barrett is the new running backs coach at UCF.
4. Despite saying the scandal that erupted around Cam Newton "kind of stained almost everybody" involved with it -- including himself, we presume -- Dan Mullen also said he had "no regrets" about his Mississippi State program's recruitment of Newton or its handling of the situation. No regrets aside from the part where Newton chose Auburn and went on to win the Heisman and a national championship, it's safe to assume.
AND A CLOUD ...
Tennessee junior cornerback Art Evans spoke publicly for the first time since being reinstated following a three-month suspension; Evans missed the last six games of 2010 after falling behind on his car payments ... In addition to his infamous call to the Paul Finebaum radio show, accused Toomer's Corner oak poisoner Harvey Updyke may have also bragged about committing the crime on an Alabama fan site ... More buzz is buzzing about Oklahoma countering Texas's "Longhorn Network" with one of their own ... Remember former Florida and Ole Miss defensive back Jamar Hornsby? If you do, it won't surpise you to learn he's currently in jail ... Without Nebraska, does the Big 12 have enough quality games for its television obligations?
Tags: Andrew Luck, Art Evans, Big 12, Big East, Boise State, Cam Newton, Clint Hurtt, Dan Mullen, Danny Barrett, Florida, Friday Four Links, Harvey Updyke, Jamar Hornsby, John Butler, Longhorn Network, Louisville, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Nevada, Nfl Draft, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Oregon State, Paul Finebaum, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas, Texas Tech, Tim Cross, Toomer's Corner, Tracy Rocker, UCF
Posted on: February 16, 2011 7:07 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Even after Tracy Rocker bolted to the Tennessee Titans, Auburn wasn't the only SEC school with an NFL -created hole on its coaching roster this afternoon; if you'll recall, the Carolina Panthers plucked away Georgia assistant Warren Belin two weeks ago.
But as of even later this afternoon, Mark Richt has gotten his team's hole filled, and in impressive fashion :
That's Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald reporting the news on Twitter. Not only is Richt replacing his NFL-bound assistant with an assistant from the NFL, but Kirk Olivadotti isn't the sort of coach who's just had a cup of coffee at the next level; he was Washington's longest-tenured coach , having spent 11 seasons with the team including three (from 2007-2009) as their full-fledged linebackers coach. It's hard to imagine a better fit for an LBs coach in coordinator Todd Grantham's NFL-honed 3-4 than a coach with a decade spent with NFL LBs.
Richt earned plenty of praise for his work this offseason on the recruiting trail. But Olivadotti's hire shows he's not bad at recruiting coaches, either.
Posted on: February 16, 2011 4:15 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The problem with trying to create a dynasty in college football is the sheer impermanence of it all. Not only are the players gone after four (or sometimes fewer) seasons of eligibility, but college football isn't the highest level of the sport; that, of course, is the NFL, and the NFL is a much more attractive destination for coaches than the NCAA.
To that end, Auburn had been surprisingly lucky to keep its entire staff intact* after winning the national championship this season. Oh, you see that asterisk? That usually means bad news, and it does here, as Auburn DL coach Tracy Rocker has accepted an offer to coach defensive line with the Tennessee Titans.
Now, the loss of DT Nick Fairley is probably more consequential to the defensive line in the short term than is the loss of Rocker; Fairley was dominant all season long in 2010, especially in the National Championship against Oregon, and he has well earned his inevitable Top 3 Pick status in the upcoming NFL Draft. At the same time, Fairley is especially cognizant of how much Rocker meant to his success, and for good reason; Fairley wasn't even on the radar for top defensive tackles coming into the season, to the point that prognosticator nonpareil Phil Steele didn't have Fairley in his top four preseason All-SEC teams.
The good news for Auburn is that unlike 2009, when Gene Chizik first came abord fresh off a 5-19 stint at Iowa State, the school is now a bona fide destination again, rather than a mere stepping stone. Chizik should probably be able to pluck a fine coach from any number of schools. Perhaps from Indiana? That seems to be en vogue these days, anyway.
*Up until now, anyway.
Posted on: December 9, 2010 2:19 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's one of those stories that would be edited out of a film script for being "too heavyhanded," but happened in real life Wednesday night anyway: Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, playing the past two seasons under the tutelage of his school's last winner of the Lombardi Award, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, became the school's newest winner of the same award . It's not irony, but it's close enough that Alanis Morrisette would think it is.
In any case, the award's voters -- "a distinguished committee of nearly 400 of America's most prominent college football coaches, football writers, sports broadcasters and previous Rotary Lombardi Award winners and finalists," charged with selecting the nation's best lineman or linebacker -- weren't voting based on the headlines; Fairley was arguably the nation's most disruptive defensive force this season, leading the SEC in tackles for loss with 21.5 (for comparison's sake, one more than Ndamukong Suh totaled in 2009) and finishing second with 10.5 sacks. But Fairley's penchant for brutal hits on opposing quarterbacks -- a handful of which straddled the line between fair play and unnecessary roughness, and earned him something of a villain's reputation in some quarters of the conference -- meant his impact was felt even beyond his imposing statistics.
All that said, the Lombardi committee couldn't have gone wrong with the equally beastly Da'Quan Bowers, the Clemson defensive end who leads the nation in sacks and was one of three other Lombardi finalists (with the others Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn and TCU center Jake Kirkpatrick ). Bowers won the Nagurski Trophy over Fairley, setting up a kind of rubber match vote with the Bednarik Award , given to the nation's best defensive player later today.
Whether Bowers or Fairley triumphs in their little one-on-battle on the awards circuit (the Bednarik could also declare an effective tie by honoring LSU corner Patrick Peterson ), the real winner here is the NFL draft, which assuming Fairley declares, looks poised to have an outstanding class of defensive linemen on its hands this April.
Follow along with all the postseason college football honors at the CBS Sports Awards Watch .