Tag:Mississippi State
Posted on: December 15, 2010 5:29 pm
 

Mullen's ego too large for Miami?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Now that Miami has finally hired Al Golden to take over for Randy Shannon, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald took to wondering why Golden was the man Miami finally settled on.  Not a crazy question to ask considering the names that came up at times during the coaching search.  Guys like Jon Gruden, Bo Pelini and Jim Harbaugh.

Well, according to one member of the school's board of trustees, the simple fact was that no big name coaches seemed interested in leaving their current jobs for Miami.  Though, according to that same trustee, when it came to Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, it wasn't his lack of interest as much as his giant ego.
A high-level trustee fully aware of how the search was done said, ``We were not going to get a star, and it wasn't a money thing. Why would [marquee coaches] leave any of their great programs'' to take another college job? ``Florida didn't get one either. We hired the best person that wasn't in the top 20.''
The trustee said UM inquired about Stanford's Jim Harbaugh, who wasn't interested, and said Jon Gruden never seemed serious about taking the job. Chris Peterson(sic) gave UM no indication he wanted to leave Boise State. UM thought Nebraska's Bo Pelini had some interest, but he changed his mind. And UM was turned off by Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen's big ego, with one trustee saying he acts like he invented the game.

I know, it's shocking to hear that a coach who has experienced success doing his job might have an ego.  Still, the most shocking thing about this -- if it's true -- is that Miami would take offense to a coach's arrogance.

Miami is the same school that employed Jimmy Johnson, isn't it?  It's the school that walked off the airplane at the 1987 Fiesta Bowl in fatigues and, for most intents and purposes, defined swagger in the world of college football.

That's the school that has now decided a coach may have been a bit too full of himself?  Interesting.
Posted on: December 10, 2010 10:21 am
Edited on: December 10, 2010 11:12 am
 

Report: Vandy offers Malzahn"ballpark" $3M a year

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Given who's making the offer, this report from the Tennessean might say more about the upward spiral of college coaching salaries (particularly in the SEC ) than Nick Saban's contract at Alabama ever could. Why? Because it claims that Vanderbilt -- Vanderbilt! -- has just offered to pay Auburn's offensive coordinator some several hundred thousand dollars more per year in salary than his own league title-winning head coach earns :
Auburn coor­di­na­tor Gus Mal­zahn , who was in town Wed­nes­day, is thought to have recei­ved another offer from Van­der­bilt that approaches the ball­park of $3 million per year.
Say this much for Vandy: now that we know that the SEC's most downtrodden football program has the capacity to come up with this kind of scratch (though we're still not sure how ), it makes a lot more sense why they parted ways with Robbie Caldwell after only one season. When you can make this kind of play for a property as hot as Malzahn, there's no reason to hold on to a well-meaning-but-limited coach like Caldwell.

As for whether Malzahn will accept, both the report above and the one preceding it at the Tennesseean make clear that despite the chance to double and possibly triple his maximum salary at Auburn, he hasn't accepted just yet. (Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin has apparently moved up to second in the Commodore pecking order and would get the call if Malzahn declines.) He could be willing to wait out the falling dominoes at Florida and then possibly Mississippi State or Arkansas; they might not pay him as much as the Vandy offer and would be almost as difficult a job, traditionally speaking, but the latter would give him a chance to coach in his home state for a fanbase that is already wildly fond of him. That might be worth waiting on, though when we're talking about a ballpark $3 million bird in the hand, it also might not be.

In any case, it looks like Auburn will have to have those dominoes fall exactly right -- Malzahn waits on MSU/Arkansas, Vandy moves on to Franklin, Mullen goes to Florida, State can't make a strong enough offer or goes in a different direction -- to retain Malzahn's services for another year. The far more likely result at this stage is that he's gone, and that the bigger question for the Tigers now is simply keeping Malzahn as focused on the BCS National Championship Game as they can amidst the coaching storm.

 


Posted on: December 8, 2010 8:23 pm
 

Louisville to do everything to keep Strong

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While I went over the emotions running through Starksville earlier today -- emotions athletic director Scott Stricklin is trying to soothe -- Mississippi State isn't the only school in the country worried that Urban Meyer's latest resignation will affect its football program.  Louisville is also the home of a former Florida coordinator under Meyer, Charlie Strong.

Strong's name is likely to come up at some point during the coaching search, and Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich knows it.  Which is why he's planning on doing whatever it takes to keep Strong in Kentucky.

“He brings everything to a job from A to Z,” Jurich told The Courier-Journal. “I will do everything in my power to make sure he stays because he is a perfect fit for this city and this university.”

Of course, just because Louisville wants to keep Strong, that doesn't mean it will be able to.  The lure of coaching at Florida is a strong one, as it's easily one of the top jobs in the country, if not the best job in the country.  Florida could also offer Strong a lot more money than he'll make at Louisville, which is always a nice card to play when luring a coach.

So even if Jurich does everything in his power to keep Strong, I'm not sure he has the power to pull it off should Gainesville come calling.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 5:01 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 5:43 pm
 

Life as a Mississippi State fan

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Urban Meyer stepping down at Florida does not just affect the Gators football program.  No, it can be felt throughout the SEC, specifically at a school like Mississippi State.  Though it's still early in the process, you can bet that former Florida coordinator and current Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen's name will be coming up as a replacement for Meyer in Gainesville.

Which is just the latest twist in the roller coaster ride that Mississippi State fans have been on for the last few weeks.  Now, I could sum it all up in words, but words are boring.  So instead I present to you "Life As A Mississippi State Fan" in MS Paint.  Because pictures are worth a thousand words, so get ready for like 1,400 more words.





























Posted on: December 8, 2010 3:38 pm
 

If Mullen's off the board, where will Miami turn?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

With the news that Urban Meyer has resigned/retired at Florida (delete as you personally see applicable), the Dan Mullen sweepstakes has a new almost-certain winner. The Gators will likely see Mullen as their Nos. 1, 1A, and 1B candidates, and there's no better fit -- and no place that can pay him more money -- for Mullen than his old stomping grounds in Gainesville. From the outside, it appears to be the kind of marriage that'll have both parties at the courthouse before anyone even knows they're courtin'.

That may be great news for Gator fans who would be happy to sacrifice Meyer if it meant replacing Steve Addazio' s hapless play-calling with Mullen's tried-and-proven offensive acumen, but it's a terrible blow for Mississippi State (who given their financial constraints will have no chance of keeping Mullen if/when the Gators come calling) and a big one for Miami as well. Depending on which reports you believe, the 'Canes had made Mullen their top candidate after being turned down by Jon Gruden , and given his offensive pedigree and performance in Starkville, he was the option with the best combination of availability and likelihood of success.

If he's off the board, where might Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt turn? A flurry of reports out of South Florida have identified the candidates currently at the forefront of the search. (The 'Canes will apparently risk receiving another sternly-worded letter from Donald Trump , as Mike Leach is not among them.) Taking them one coach at a time, and assessing their chances of eventually taking their talents to South Beach:

Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech: Tuberville has a strong Miami connection, having coached there for eight years and winning a national-title as a defensive coordinator under Dennis Erickson, and would certainly be capable of preserving the team's defensive improvement under Randy Shannon. He would almost certainly accept the job if offered, as whispers have indicated Tuberville has been campaigning hard for the job behind the scenes. (Then again, Tuberville's agent is infamous rumor-starter Jimmy Sexton, so take that with a grain of salt.) The problem is that Tuberville is already 56, with his best coaching days behind him, and has struggled at times putting together a working offensive staff. Would he cause enough of a splash?

Randy Edsall, UConn: Then again, if the 'Canes are seriously considering Edsall, making a splash isn't high on their list of concerns. Edsall would maintain Shannon's sense of rugged discipline, with an old-school grinding running game to match, and there's no doubt he's wrung the most out of his fledgling program. But the Huskies haven't actually been "good," even by Big East standards, as much as they have been the team least-prone to shooting itself in the foot.

Kevin Sumlin, Houston: Sumlin is a young, charismatic coach with an exciting up-tempo offense that ought to put butts in seats; he should be able to immediately connect wit hthe 'Canes fickle fanbase in a way the above candidates might not. But he's also by far the least proven, having made his name by maintaining Art Briles' previous good work at Houston.

Al Golden, Temple: Golden's resuscitation of the Owls is one of the most impressive feats of college coaching of the past few years, and he's young enough that he could be a cornerstone for Miami for years and years to come. But there's a strong sense -- bordering on consensus -- that Golden is waiting for Joe Paterno' s retirement for a shot at the Penn State gig. After Turner Gill' s struggles at Kansas , it's also worth wondering if rebuilding jobs in the MAC are easier than they're made it out to be.

Mike Stoops, Arizona: In what might be seen as a too-close-for-comfort parallel with the Shannon era, Stoops's steady year-by-year improvement project in Tucson took a minor step backwards this year. But Stoops' sideline antics prove he's got the energy for the job, and his reclamation job with the Wildcats has been impressive. But Miami may not be able to pay him much more than Arizona can, and there doesn't seem to be as much buzz as there is with the candidates above.

And that, for the time being, is the list (though the reports also agree that other candidates are likely on the radar screen). There's a few reasonably solid options there, and at this point you might have to consider Tuberville the favorite; he has the biggest name, the strongest ties, and likely the most intense interest. But if Mullen is truly no longer in the picture, Hocutt might also have to get creative to stave off the perception that the Gators stole his hire's thunder clean out from under him.

Posted on: December 7, 2010 1:33 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 2:55 pm
 

Michigan players enthusiastically support RichRod

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It doesn't happen all that often -- usually college football players are fully behind their coach come bowl-less hell or high water -- but occasionally when a head coach comes under fire, the lukewarm response from the players (or even more rarely, outright hostility, as in the case of Mike Leach at Texas Tech) gives away the fact that even they aren't really sold on the coach being retained.

Given their comments this week , it's safe to say the situation at Michigan with the beleagured Rich Rodriguez is not one of those times. Junior wideout Darryl Stonum:
"I love my coach ... I committed to Coach (Lloyd) Carr and Coach Rod came in. Coach Rod treats us like his own kids. Like Denard (Robinson) said in his MVP speech, we're all brothers and we're all family. I'd be pretty devastated if anything happened."
That's one thing. But maybe the best indication of how badly the Wolverines want A.D Dave Brandon to keep Rodriguez at the helm is Ryan Van Bergen' s defense of his coach's now infamous Josh Groban -soundtracked appeal at the team banquet. Van Bergen:

The pressure he's subjected to, especially over the course of his three years here, I think he's been handling it with as strong a front as you could possibly have. I think it was really appreciated by some of the seniors. That was directed toward them. The guys who stuck around -- there's not too many of them -- they were his closest supporters."

As for some public ridicule, Van Bergen said: "He wasn't doing that for them."

Bear in mind that even Groban himself thought RichRod's banquet presentation went too far in the direction of corny. If his players are willing to not only look past but even embrace that kind of decision, give Rodriguez credit: they really will follow him anywhere. That won't do as much for him as beating Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl or, say, not losing quarterback commitments to Wake Forest, but it's something.

Posted on: December 5, 2010 5:36 pm
 

Report: Michigan, Mississippi State to Gator Bowl

J. Darin Darst

According to the Florida Times-Union , sources within the selection committee have picked Michigan (7-5) from the Big Ten and Mississippi State (8-4) from the SEC to play in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1 at EverBank Field.

There were earlier reports that the Gator Bowl would take Florida and then Tennessee, but sounds like they went with the team with the better record.




Posted on: December 3, 2010 2:30 pm
 

Gamecocks have the right idea about Cam this time

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

There are many things you could say about Cam Newton , and by now, nearly all of them have been said.

But even given that Newton ranks second in the country in passer rating, given that he's rushed more often than he's thrown in one of the country's strongest rushing attacks, you wouldn't expect "we fear him more as a passing threat than a running threat" to have been one of those things said. It turns out that's exactly what South Carolina was saying to themselves as they prepared to face Auburn the first time:
South Carolina's coaches saw a 6-6, 250-pound quarterback who wanted to throw first and run second. The new JaMarcus Russell, they called him. That's what film against Arkansas State, Mississippi State and Clemson had shown them.

But they were mistaken.

"The first time we played them, they did a good job and wore us out," Gamecocks defensive assistant Shane Beamer said Monday.

"We probably didn't have as much respect for him as a runner as we did a passer."

Newton solved that problem right quick, going for 176 of Auburn's 334 yards on the ground. Obviously, when the two teams meet again Saturday in the SEC Championship Game (exclusively on CBS!), the Gamecocks will be a little more focused on making sure Newton has to beat them through the air rather than on the ground alone. (Whether they can succeed is debatable given Carolina's struggles in their 100th-ranked pass defense and Newton's 12-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio since midseason, but when given two evils, one has to be the lesser.)

But the question has to be asked: what film of Mississippi State and Clemson were the Gamecock coaches watching? Against State , Newton threw 19 times and rushed the ball 18 times, with many of those rushes going for critical first downs and one of his passes an ugly interception into end-zone triple coverage. Against Clemson , Newton threw just 14 times (with two more interceptions) while carrying the ball 17 times.

Certainly, many of Newton's passes in both those games went for huge plays (he averaged a remarkable 29 yards per-completion in the comeback against Clemson) and both the Bulldogs and Tigers kept him largely bottled up in those 35 attempts on the ground. But if Carolina really expected Newton to be a Russell-like pocket passer, you have to ask what they thought they were seeing over the course of those games ... and whether the same staff is up the challenge of Gus Malzahn and Newton this time around.

 


 
 
 
 
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