Tag:Ty Willingham
Posted on: December 31, 2010 7:09 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 7:11 pm
 

Bowl Grades: Sun Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Notre Dame never breaks a sweat during 33-17 win over Miami in El Paso

Notre Dame

Offense: Tommy Rees probably isn't the best quarterback on scholarship at Notre Dame, but he's proven that sometimes there's more to the quarterback position than talent.  The Irish improved to 4-0 on the season when Rees starts, though even Rees would tell you it's a lot easier to play quarterback when you have a talented wide receiver like Michael Floyd at your disposal.

Floyd says he hasn't made a decision as to whether or not he'll return for his senior season, but there are likely some NFL scouts drooling after his Sun Bowl MVP performance on Friday.  Floyd finished the game with 6 receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns.  Still, as nice as Floyd was for the Irish, the real key to their success was the running game, which racked up over 200 yards behind Cierre Wood, Robert Hughes and Theo Riddick.  If it weren't for the Irish offense slowing down a bit in the second half -- which is understandable considering the game was already over at halftime -- I'd be giving them a higher grade than this.  Grade: B+

Defense: The Notre Dame defense had flown a bit under the radar this season, and came into the Sun Bowl allowing only one touchdown in the last 12 quarters of play.  That one touchdown was by USC, and it was a four-play three-yard drive following a turnover.  The Irish stretched that streak to 15 quarters before Miami found its way into the end zone, and forced four turnovers on the day with safety Harrison Smith intercepting three passes by himself.

Miami finished the game with over 400 yards and 17 points of offense, but just about all of those came when the game was well out of reach late. Grade: A

Coaching: Brian Kelly didn't come to South Bend with the same fanfare that Charlie Weis and Ty Willingham did, but it's starting to look as though he may finally be the head coach that restores the winning tradition of Notre Dame.  The Irish attacked Miami's defense early and built a big enough lead that it was able to coast through the second half, and Bob Diaco's defense stuffed Miami's running game and forced Jacory Harris to throw.  And when you force Jacory Harris to throw, it's but a matter of time before the turnovers happen.  Grade: A

Miami

Offense: It was really a tale of two quarterbacks for Miami.  Jacory Harris came into the game looking to redeem himself and just made things worse.  Here's what you need to know about Harris' day: he completed seven passes.  Only four of them were completed to Miami receivers, the other three ended up in the hands of Notre Dame.

Stephen Morris came on, and though he threw an interception of his own, Miami's offense looked a lot better while he was in the game.  Morris threw for 283 yards and two touchdowns, and even though a lot came in garbage time, the fact he didn't quit says a lot about him.  Had he played the entire game, the outcome may have been a bit different.  Grade: D

Defense: I can't blame Miami's defense for this one, as Jacory Harris didn't put them in a very good position in the first half. Hard as it may be to believe given the outcome of the game, I was actually impressed with Miami's defense in this game for the final three quarters.  Even though the outcome of the game was never really in doubt, Miami's defense never stopped playing, and kept holding Notre Dame to field goals.  Marcus Fortson, in particular, was impressive in the second half, frequently disrupting life in the Notre Dame backfield. 

All that being said, however, Miami's defense never made a play to bail out its offense either. Grade:C+

Coaching: I do not envy the task that Jeff Stoutland had going into this game.  A lame duck coach filling in for the recently fired Randy Shannon, and in charge of a team that seemed to lose interest in the 2010 season over a month ago.  My only qualm with anything he did was starting Harris over Morris at quarterback, but given the fact that Morris sprained his ankle in practice, I can't even blame him for that. Grade: Incomplete

Final Grade

If you were tuning into this game hoping to see a classic like the meetings between these teams in the late 80s, then you were no doubt disappointed. Still, the game was a microcosm of the directions these once mighty programs seem to be going.  Each team has plenty of work left to do, but Notre Dame seems to have already taken the first step back to respectability, while Miami needs to build a foundation first.  Grade: D

Posted on: November 16, 2010 12:18 pm
 

Open season on ex-SEC coaches

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The nice thing about being a head football coach in the SEC is that if you succeed, you're a god. The bad thing is that if you don't, the minute you're out the door (or well before, of course), you're everything that is wrong with modern society. Also, an absolutely terrible football coach.

The league gave us not one but two examples of this phenomenon yesterday, the first (not surprisingly) where the success of previously-ignored running back Tauren Poole gave the current Volunteers the chance to shovel some more dirt on the grave of Lane Kiffin 's Tennessee tenure :

 

“Tauren deserved a shot last year,” sophomore cornerback Prentiss Waggner said. “That’s why we stood behind him.”

Senior wide receiver Gerald Jones, as he’s prone to do, went even further.

“I think anybody would have got up and left,” Jones said. “Tauren took as much as he could take.”

Senior kicker Daniel Lincoln said “everybody was in Tauren’s court.”

“I was, 100 percent, and so was just everybody else,” Lincoln continued. “People on the sideline literally yelled at coaches, ‘Yo, put him in,’ during games last year . And it still didn’t happen. Players ... you can’t fool the players. It doesn’t matter what coaches say in the media, you cannot fool the players. The players know what’s going on. They know who’s good and they know who’s not good, and they know who’s paid the price and who hasn’t.

The vocal show of support for Poole from his teammate came after he had point-blank refused to enter a blowout against Memphis in the game's dying minutes, even under Kiffin's orders. Quite the tight ship Kiffin was running in Knoxville, huh?

But at least that ship didn't run aground on the shoals of a winless SEC season, as did the final team under Ed Orgeron at Ole Miss . Houston Nutt was all too happy to remind Rebel fans of that fact in his deliciously entertaining press conference/one-man pep rally/big tent revival sermon yesterday:

Again, I don’t want to, let’s make sure we clear up, I’m not blaming anything on the previous staff, because I appreciate the players that I inherited. Even though they didn’t win a conference game, the players that I inherited, that Ed Orgeron recruited, were very, very good players, now. I want to make it real clear. They did a good job of getting a Peria Jerry, Jerrell Powe, and all these young men in here, man. I mean, Michael Wallace. Shay Hodge. All those guys. Awesome. But the bottom line is, they didn’t know how to win and they were used to losing and they accepted it. I don’t want to get to that point. I don’t ever want to go back. Again, I’m just harping on, don’t ever get used to losing. Don’t ever get to where it’s a little bit easier to let go of the rope.
Let's shorten this a bit: "I’m not blaming anything on the previous staff ... Even though they didn’t win a conference game ... [and] the bottom line is, they didn’t know how to win and they were used to losing and they accepted it." Got it, coach. (The College Football Blog nonetheless heartily recommends reading the entire transcript of the press conference linked above.)

Seeing reactions like these and knowing how much scorn he took after moving on from jobs at Notre Dame and Washington , it's probably for the best that Ty Willingham never got an SEC job. Someone would have taken to a mic yesterday to blame him for, say, Steve Addazio . And botulism.

 


 
 
 
 
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