Tag:UCLA
Posted on: February 23, 2011 8:42 pm
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Steven Threet's career ended by concussions

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The last time we heard from Arizona State quarterback Steven Threet, he was being removed from last season's UCLA game after a concussion. It was his second in five games, having suffered one earlier against California. While the first concussion evidently wasn't serious -- Threet returned to action the very next week against Washington State and had his best game of the season, going 26-32 for 300 yards and three TDs -- the cumulative effects of the two concussions appear to be much more severe.

The Arizona Republic reported today that Threet is still suffering post-concussion symptoms after that UCLA injury, and summarily has decided to leave the sport of football for good. Threet's symptoms include headaches and trouble sleeping; that the symptoms persist nearly three full months after the concussion means football must be off the table for Threet going forward.

"It's extremely hard," Threet told the Arizona Republic. "Obviously, this is a game I love. I love the guys that I've played with. Throughout my career I've had to make a lot of tough decisions, but this has been the toughest I've made so far."

Brock Osweiler, who stepped in for the injured Threet at the end of last season, is the prohibitive favorite to start for ASU in 2011; the only other QB with significant experience on the team was Samson Szakacsy, and he left the team as well last month (though under healthier circumstances).

But going back to Threet, it's obviously terrible to hear that his brain is still injured and we wish him all the best as he tries to recover. Leaving football, difficult as it may have been, was clearly the right decision. What's more, while we don't doubt that Arizona State doctors acted in good faith when they evaluated Threet after his first concussion, it is a fact that ASU is not beholden to Threet's long term well-being. This isn't the NFL, so Threet's not going to collect a pension to help with lingering medical issues (should they occur, and let's hope they don't) once he's gone from the school, or otherwise be helped out by the school. This isn't to suggest ASU is in any way liable for Threet's injuries, of course -- football is brutal and everybody knows that long before their first two-a-day ever begins -- but just a reminder of who's sacrificing for whom in the player-school relationship.

Posted on: February 21, 2011 1:02 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2011 11:11 am
 

Eye on CFB Recruiting Review, 2/21

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Hey, Eye on College Football reader, are you also reading our sister blog, the excellent Eye on Recruiting as written by the excellent Bryan Fischer (who you can folllow on Twitter here )? If not, why not? Don't you like being well-informed about the myriad goings-on in the world of college football recruiting? Because if you read Eye on Recruiting, you will be.

But we also know that not everyone is a hardcore recruitnik. For those of you who aren't, we're providing a new weekly public service: the biggest headlines and most interesting stories to come out of recruiting this past week as reported at Eye on Recruiting , all collected in one easy post right here. Enjoy:

  • Alabama hasn't wasted any time putting together their next loaded recruiting class, already adding their seventh and eighth commitments for 2012. One of them, highly-regarded Powder Springs (Ga.) running back Kenyan Drake, shows that Nick Saban's efforts in Georgia aren't slowing down anytime soon. Their SEC rivals at Florida are off to a fast start as well , with three commitments in the past week and five total; with Stone Mountain (Ga.) RB Mike Davis and Seffner (Fla.) RB Matt Jones in the fold, the Gators may be done at tailback already.
  • Though they've decided to back off from their usual stragey of locking up half their class by spring break, Texas is nonetheless up to six commitments already after Mansfield (Texas) defensive end Hassan Ridgeway pledged to the 'Horns over multiple other in-state offers.
  • How did the final 2011 recruiting hauls stack up head-to-head, position-by-position, in the Iron Bowl rivalry? Fischer has your answer , with the Crimson Tide having the edge but Auburn having nothing to hang their head about. Also examined are hte more lopsided comparsions between Texas and Texas A&M and USC and UCLA .
  • Among the teams nabbing their first commitments for the class of 2012 are Colorado, with legacy recruit Clay Norgard, and Georgia Tech, with Lakeland (Ga.) linebacker Junior Gnonkonde. Gnonkonde is a native of Cote D'Ivoire who came to the U.S. only three years ago.
  • This weekend's Nike Combine and National UnderClassmen Combine, both in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, allowed some of the best talent from the state of Florida (and elsewhere) to shine; here's the names you need to know from the Nike event, and a full rundown of both events is available here . The headliner was 6'2", 207-pound Clermont (Fla.) linebacker Justin Horton, who currently carries offers from USF and Louisville but will likely see his recruiting heat up in a big way after running a 4.58 40.
One more reminder: if you don't want to wait for these Monday recaps, simply read Eye on Recruiting . You'll be glad you did.

Posted on: February 17, 2011 11:35 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2011 11:35 pm
 

Mark Cuban's quest for a playoff continues

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In December Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban let it be known that he wanted to help implement a playoff system in college football, and it turns out that these were not just empty words. Since announcing his intentions last December, Cuban has been taking steps to make his vision a reality, including starting a new company with the sole purpose of bringing a playoff to the college game.
The billionaire entrepreneur has formed a limited liability company called Radical Football “to impact college football so that the last two teams playing are the best two teams,” Cuban said in an e-mail.
Radical Football was registered in Texas on Dec. 28 and already has at least one person working for it:Brett Morris, 40, a Los Angeles-based digital media consultant. Morris previously served as president of a national marketing agency focused on sporting goods and has worked in the Notre Dame athletics department as promotions coordinator.
When asked why he felt the need to start an LLC to get this done, Cuban said "because that is what the lawyers told us we should do. I pay, I listen."

Essentially, what Radical Football is doing is figuring out a way to create a playoff system that would appeal to both the fans, and to the schools. There have been contests amongst business students at schools all over the world as they attempt to create such a system. For instance, the winning team from a group of students at Oxford will be meeting with Cuban to discuss their ideas later this year.

The list of schools being used in the company's research include USC, Notre Dame, Texas, San Diego State, Florida, Georgetown, Duke, UCLA and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Of course, coming up with a good idea will only be half the battle. Finding a way to convince the powers that be in college football to adopt the playoff system will be the biggest challenge.

Even if Cuban's company can come up with a great idea that makes more money for everybody, there's no guarantee that the BCS or NCAA will listen. After all, they've been presented with plenty of ideas in the past, but don't seem all that interested in change. For the most part they say their concern isn't as much making more money as it is preserving the tradition of the bowl games and the importance of the regular season.
Posted on: February 11, 2011 1:22 am
Edited on: February 11, 2011 1:23 am
 

Report: Randy Shannon may be Maryland's next DC

Posted by Adam Jacobi

When Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown bolted his post for the same at UConn last week, it seemed to mean, well, something; after all, incoming Terps head coach Randy Edsdall had made precisely the opposite move, so perhaps not everybody shared Edsall's sentiment that Maryland was a dream job.

Fortunately, Edsall knows the single most important maxim one can learn: that the best revenge is massive success. To that end, Edsall immediately sought out former Miami head coach Randy Shannon to replace Brown, and now the Washington Post reports that the two are closing in on a deal to bring Shannon to Maryland.

Say what you will about Shannon's results as a head coach of the Hurricanes and the fan exodus that ensued, but the man can coach defense. In his six seasons as Miami's defensive coordinator, the Hurricanes ranked in the top ten nationally in total defense in five of those seasons. In his four subsequent seasons as a head coach, his team never finished lower than 33rd nationally.

Of course, this isn't the first time we've heard Shannon's name attached to a prominent job; he was a strong contender at UCLA three weeks ago, but obviously that didn't pan out. On that note, then, it's important to wait for official confirmation from all parties involved that the deal is on, but for now, it looks like Randy Edsall is making the most of his unexpected opening at defensive coordinator, and that Randy Shannon is back in college football, where he belongs.

Posted on: February 10, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2011 5:47 pm
 

Report: Steve Brown could be new UCLA DC soon

Posted by Chip Patterson

After finishing the 2010 season ranked near the bottom of the conference in most defensive categories, UCLA fired defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough on December 18.  Nearly two months later, it seems like the search for his replacement may be finally nearing an end.  Multiple media outlets are reporting that Kentucky defensive coordinator Steve Brown will likely be the man for the job, and the announcement could come in the next few days.  The Los Angeles Times confirmed that Brown interviewed on Tuesday, and Scott Reid of the Orange County Register believes the Oregon alum could be introduced in the near future.

UCLA supposedly had their man lined up after head coach Rick Neuheisel interviewed Rocky Seto, Pete Carroll's defensive coordinator from Seattle and USC.  Neuheisel had already struck out with San Diego State's Rocky Long (promoted to head coach) and Stanford's Vic Fangio (now defensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers).  Unfortunately after Seto's interview, the coach went public with the information thinking the job was his to lose.

It was, and he did.

UCLA was unhappy that Seto decided to break the news himself and the deal quickly disappeared.  Now, after all the twists and turns things are finally coming into place for the Bruins.  

The Bruins did make one hire on Wednesday, announcing Nevada's Jim Mastro as UCLA's new F-backs/running game coach.  Mastro will be counted on to improve the pistol attack run by the Bruins in 2010.        


Posted on: February 10, 2011 4:38 pm
 

Oversigning debate hits Connecticut legislature

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If we haven't yet, let's go ahead and call this the Offseason of Oversigning. No topic has proven to be a bigger hot button since Auburn polished Oregon off in Glendale, with everyone from Nick Saban to USA Today to Bernie Machen to Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples to compliance officials to (as of today) Jay Paterno weighing in on the subject ... and we're not even halfway through February.

Such has been the topic's rapid rise to critical mass that it's even being debated outside the world of college football--in this case, inside the halls of the Connecticut state legislature , where a bill called the "Connecticut Student-Athletes' Right to Know Act" would "require universities to spell out the details" on how and why their athletic scholarships could be revoked or unrenewed.

Appearing before legislative officials to argue for the bill were local professor (and former Notre Dame football player) Allen Sack and former UCLA Bruin Ramogi Huga:
While NCAA rules state that athletic aid cannot be reduced or cancelled during the one-year period of the award because of athletic ability or injury, Sack said, "the rules are murky when it comes to conditions for the renewal and non-renewal of the scholarships in the subsequent year."

"Some universities renew scholarships for four years as long as athletes continue playing and adhere to team rules," said Sack. "Others cancel scholarships for poor athletic performance or for injury" ...

Huma, a former UCLA football player and president of the National College Players Association — a California nonprofit made up of more than 14,000 Division 1 student athletes — also testified at the hearing and went one step further. He said the majority of high school recruits decide which college to attend based on "false information given to them by athletic recruiters."

Most recruits and their parents have no idea, Huma said, that colleges can "leave them with sports-related medical expenses, take away their scholarship for any reason, leave them with tens of thousands of dollars in educational-related expenses, and hold their eligibility and scholarship opportunities hostage when they try to transfer schools."
Though neither Sack nor Huga specifically refers to the practice of oversigning, the controversy over whether teams (in Sack's words) "cancel scholarships for poor athletic performance" in order to make room for new recruits nonetheless puts it at the heart of the bill. It's hardly coincidence it appears just as the debate over oversigning reaches its most heated point, just as it wasn't coincidence Saban prematurely echoed Sank's words by saying "We have never gotten rid of a player because of his physical ability" in his defense of his recruiting practices.

The bill still has many hurdles to clear before passing, including a check with the NCAA to make it sure it doesn't run afoul of (or further complicate) NCAA regulations. And, of course, there's a massive, massive gulf between one such bill passing in Connecticut (where UConn would be the only FBS program affected) and nationwide oversigning reform enacted by either the NCAA or the government.

But the point remains: more than ever it appears college football is sloping towards some kind of oversigning legislation, and that the only real question is how slippery that slope will be.

Posted on: February 10, 2011 12:02 pm
 

Norm Chow taking a pay cut at Utah

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Have you ever been to both Utah and Los Angeles? Even if you haven't, you probably don't need to be told that there's a slight difference in the culture and speed of both places. There's also a difference in the cost of living, which would seem to be good news for new Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Chow recently left the same position at UCLA to return to Utah, and it seems he took a healthy pay cut to do so.
Even though he is still making more than the next highest paid assistant, Norm Chow still took a big cut in salary when he joined Utah's staff.
Chow will receive $275,000, annually, according to his contract which was finalized Wednesday. The contract runs from Jan. 25, 2011 to June 30, 2013.
Chow's salary is far from the $640,000 package he was earning at UCLA, but still way above Utah's next highest paid assistant, defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake who receives a base salary of $170,000.
That's a 58% pay cut that Chow has taken, though there are some bonuses worked in to his deal. He'd get a $20,000 bonus should Utah make a BCS game, and also gets a "company" car and tickets to home and road games. Though unless that company car is worth $400,000, or the prices of Utah tickets have skyrocketed, it's still a drastic change.

Of course, so is no longer having to work under Rick Neuheisel.
Posted on: February 8, 2011 4:59 pm
 

Neuheisel vacations as staff vacancies wait

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

No one -- well, not many people -- would blame a head football coach for taking a little personal time following Signing Day. After the long grind of fall camp bleeding into the season followed immediately by the sprint to the recruiting finish line, it's a rare human being who wouldn't have his batteries almost totally drained.

But that blameslessness assumes the coach wasn't leaving important unfinished business behind him when he went on vacation. And for an unstable-looking program coming off of a 4-8 disaster of a season, multiple vacancies on the coaching staff most definitely qualify as "unfinished business." But according to a candidate for one of those vacancies at UCLA, that hasn't stopped Rick Neuheisel from jetting off to warmer climes:
Nevada running backs coach Jim Mastro interviewed for and was offered a position on the UCLA football staff Friday, but said he won't make a decision on whether he's leaving the Wolf Pack for at least a week.

"Nothing's done. We're still in talks," Mastro said via cell phone Friday night. "The challenge of the move is appealing, but this isn't an easy decision" ...

Mastro said UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel was in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and is scheduled to return to the U.S. on Thursday. Mastro said he needed to discuss the terms of a potential contract with Neuheisel before making a decision.
Remember that "running game coordinator," the position for which Mastro is interviewing, isn't the only or even the most important open position on the Bruins staff; that would be defensive coordinator, the job for which Neuheisel had reportedly already hired former USC assistant Rocky Seto before Seto's premature Facebook announcement (and according to many , fan-related protests based on Seto's Trojan past) led to his dismissal.

And as Bruin fans already irritated by the Seto fiasco are bitterly pointing out , while Neuheisel enjoys the Cabo sunshine, other schools are in the process of potentially hiring one of the precious few brand-name coordinators still on the market.

If his team hadn't gone 2-7 in its conference, if the Bruins' recruiting class hadn't been the program's weakest in years, if he had all his staff's i's dotted and t's crossed, then no one would begrudge Neuheisel a little time off. But given the state of affairs in which he has left his team, it's hard not to imagine him playing a fiddle on that Mexico beach as his program burns a hole to the bottom of the Pac-12 .

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com