Tag:Adam Jacobi
Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:07 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 11:17 pm
 

ISU DB coach Elliott to take Notre Dame ass't job

Posted by Adam Jacobi

On January 2, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly (seen at right) announced a litany of job status updates in his coaching staff, including a promotion for cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks to co-defensive coordinator alongside Bob Diaco, who has also assumed the role of assistant head coach for the Fighting Irish. Chuck Martin was also moved from safeties coach to offensive coordinator. With that, then, Diaco now has three responsibilities and Cooks has two, and there's a hole at safeties coach, so the Notre Dame staff would appear ready for some help with position coaching. Now, Notre Dame has found just the man for the job.

Tom Dienhart reported on Tuesday night that Bobby Elliott, the secondary coach at Iowa State, would be taking an assistant role at Notre Dame, and CBSSports.com can confirm that report, per a source close to the situation. Iowa State defensive back Deon Broomfield also tweeted that Elliott informed the team that he would be leaving. Elliott's role with Notre Dame is likely to be involved with the safeties, as the secondary has been the main focus of his positional work over the course of his career, but the exact job title and responsibilities that he will accept with Notre Dame have yet to be confirmed.

There shouldn't be much time spent acclimating Elliott with Cooks and Diaco, Elliott's superiors on the defensive staff; he coached them both at Iowa during his 12 years as a defensive assistant under Hayden Fry. Diaco was an All-Big Ten linebacker with the Hawkeyes and graduated in 1995, while Cooks was a standout strong safety through the '99 season.

Elliott, 58, had actually been a strong candidate to assume the Iowa head coaching position from Hayden Fry as Fry's career wound down in the late '90s; he was young, experienced, and had extensive ties to the program (all factors that eventually led to Kirk Ferentz's hiring). A life-threatening blood disorder was discovered late in the 1998 season and forced Elliott out of coaching, however, and he didn't come back to the sidelines until a two-year stint with Dan McCarney and Iowa State in 2000-01.

From there, Elliott was the defensive coordinator for Kansas State for four years, then he was DC in Chuck Long's hapless regime at San Diego State for three years after that. Elliott rejoined ISU in 2010 after another year outside the coaching ranks, and his secondary was best known this season for neutralizing the Oklahoma State passing attack in the thrilling 30-24 overtime victory at Jack Trice Stadium that ended the Cowboys' national championship dreams.

Elliott is the second Iowa State assistant coach to leave during the offseason; former offensive coordinator Tom Herman joined the Ohio State staff as the Buckeyes' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach following the Pinstripe Bowl.

Notre Dame is expected to announce Elliott's hiring by the end of the week.

For more Fighting Irish updates, subscribe to the CBSSports.com Notre Dame RapidReports by Mark Bradford.

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:30 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 6:33 pm
 

Wisconsin's new OC: Northern Ill. OC Matt Canada

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Wisconsin continues to shore up its coaching losses from the departure of Paul Chryst to Pittsburgh and various other hirings, and on Tuesday the Badgers announced that Northern Illinois offensive coordinator Matt Canada had agreed to become Wisconsin's offensive coordinator.

"Matt has a terrific history as an offensive coordinator and has excelled at developing quarterbacks throughout his career," Bielema said in a statement. "I know he is very excited about running a pro-style offense and handling a game the way we typically have at Wisconsin. I think this is a great hire for us and I can't wait for him to get to work with our coaches and players." 

Canada was only one year into his second stint as NIU's offensive coordinator; he had been rising through the ranks at Indiana from 2004-2010, starting as quarterbacks coach and finishing as offensive coordinator, before Kevin Wilson came to Bloomington and cleaned house. Canada coached Kellen Lewis and Ben Chappell at quarterback for the Hoosiers, and both were highly productive in their times under center: Lewis was a first-team All-Big Ten QB before his career derailed, and Chappell holds Indiana single-season records in every major passing category.

Fortunately for Northern Illinois, Canada was able to put together a dynamite offense in his first year back, as the Huskies went 11-3, won the MAC Championship, won the GoDaddy.com Bowl 38-20 over Arkansas State, and scored over 42 points per game in the process. NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish was named the MAC offensive MVP in 2011, and his numbers backed it up: he threw for 2,942 yards, 26 TDs, and only five interceptions on 219-348 passing (good enough for the 15th-best passing efficiency in the nation), and he rushed for 1,382 yards and 11 TDs on 185 carries (leading all FBS quarterbacks) to back it up.

That kind of overall quarterback production doesn't come out of a pro-style offense, of course (but don't start hyperventilating just yet, Badger fans). Check out this video of the different ways Harnish used his quarterback, and how many different formations NIU used in the process. There's even a John Moxon Oop-De-Oop formation in there.



That's some serious offensive creativity, and completely outside the bounds of how Wisconsin has made hay for the last 15+ years as a rushing powerhouse. But fear not: as Bielema mentioned in his statement, Wisconsin will stay with a pro-style offense. Bielema's no fool. Really, he's not.

It'll be interesting to see, then, what details of Canada's style of offense survives the assimilation into the Bucky Borg. Surely Bielema wouldn't have hired an offensive coordinator he's coached against in eight games in one way or another (twice when Canada was at NIU, six times with him at Indiana) if he wasn't interested in that coach's offensive acumen in some significant respect. Until we find out what that entails, though, opposing defensive coordinators may feel free to peruse the offensive performances of Canada offenses, and if the color starts draining from the DCs' faces in the process, well, that's to be expected.

For more up-to-the-minute Badger news, subscribe to CBSSports.com's Wisconsin RapidReports by Tammy Madsen.

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 4:39 pm
 

Bill O'Brien's offensive coordinator is himself

Posted by Adam Jacobi

New Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien is in the process of filling out his coaching staff, and one of the most crucial roles on any staff is that of offensive coordinator. The offensive coordinator typically calls plays, coaches his quarterbacks, and puts to Xs and Os what the head coach's offensive philosophy dictates. Pretty important stuff, all in all.

So it came as no small surprise when the Penn State athletic department announced on Tuesday that the Nittany Lion offensive coordinator would be nobody at all, as O'Brien has decided to take on the play-calling responsibility itself. O'Brien is the current offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, so he's probably got as good an idea as to what the job entails as anybody else, but it's also worth reiterating that O'Brien is the head coach of the entire team -- not just the offense.

Of course, there are dozens of different ways a college coaching staff can be arranged without being derelict in any of its actual duties, so it's not as if the lack of an official offensive coordinator on O'Brien's staff specifically means that any major aspect of the team will be out-and-out neglected in his regime. That notion doesn't come close to passing the smell test.

Still, it's worth noting that this is certainly an unorthodox approach to staff-building, and it'll be interesting to see how O'Brien's delegation of tasks works out. He may be onto something here -- or he may just be on something. Common sense suggests the former. 

For more up-to-the-minute news on the Bill O'Brien era of Nittany Lion football, read the CBSSports.com Penn State RapidReports with Jim Rodenbush.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 4:58 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 5:11 pm
 

Iowa QB-turned-LB A.J. Derby to transfer

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Iowa's A.J. Derby, a redshirt freshman who switched from quarterback to linebacker in the middle of the 2011 season, has decided to transfer to another school, according to the Iowa athletic department. Derby was a much-ballyhooed quarterback/athlete prospect from Iowa City in the class of 2010, earning an Army All-American Game invite as a quarterback and drawing offers from schools like Florida, Alabama, and Michigan. Derby eventually selected the hometown University of Iowa, where his father John was a standout linebacker in the early '90s.

"A.J. has asked for his release, which has been granted," said head coach Kirk Ferentz in a university statement. "We are sorry to see A.J. leave the program.  He has been a positive member of our team and a pleasure to coach over the past two years.  We wish him the best as he moves forward with his career.”

"I would like to thank the University of Iowa and football coaches for the opportunity," said Derby. "Unfortunately, I don’t feel this is the best fit for me personally to reach my goals as a student-athlete. I especially wish my brother (Zach Derby, a rising senior tight end at Iowa) the best of luck in the coming year. I will miss all of my teammates, family and friends who have supported me here. Good luck to everybody. Once a hawk, always a hawk."

Derby was Iowa's second-string quarterback at the beginning of the year, beating out junior John Wienke and true freshman Jake Rudock in off-season practices, before he was arrested during the season in an alcohol-related incident. His switch to linebacker came shortly thereafter, though he did not see significant playing time on defense in 2011.

Derby joins tailbacks Marcus Coker and Mika'il McCall as Iowa transfers during this offseason, and offensive tackle Riley Reiff announced two weeks ago that he would forgo his senior year and join the NFL draft.

There have been no announcements about where Derby may transfer or whether he'll go the FBS or FCS route. If he stays in the FBS, he will need to sit out 2012 with two seasons of eligibility remaining, while he would have three years to play three seasons in the FCS.

For more up-to-the-minute Hawkeye news, subscribe to CBSSports.com's Iowa RapidReports by Brendan Stiles.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 9:29 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 9:37 pm
 

Marcus Coker released after assault investigation

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Iowa Hawkeyes announced on Tuesday that Marcus Coker, the sophomore tailback who led the team with 1384 rushing yards and 15 yards and was named second team All-Big Ten in 2011, had been released from his scholarship and would transfer. Coker had been suspended days before the team's Insight Bowl appearance against Oklahoma, which the Sooners won 31-14.

Iowa's announcement said that Coker had originally been suspended after violating the Student Athlete Code of Conduct, and on Tuesday, Iowa athletic director Gary Barta again declined to provide any more specifics. But an open records request by the Iowa City Press-Citizen revealed a sexual assault investigation against Coker dating from an October 28 incident at his residence.

According to that report, a woman reported to police that she was the victim of an assault at Coker’s residence, 618 Iowa Ave. The alleged assault took place sometime between 1:15-1:30 p.m. on Oct. 28.

The circumstances surrounding the assault are not detailed in the report, but it does note that the responding officer was dispatched to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for a sexual assault.

Iowa City Police Lt. Doug Hart said Coker was investigated for assault. However, after conferring with the Johnson County Attorney’s Office, prosecution was not pursued. Hart said the alleged victim also did not want to prosecute.

Nobody involved in the situation has indicated whether the investigation against Coker was what affected his status with the team, though the police department did say that the situation had been relayed to the Iowa athletic department, as per usual procedure.

According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Coker left this message on his Facebook page last week: "Everything happens for a reason..cant tell people i did something when i didnt. So hints y i never answered those questions. Anyway thanks everyone for the support especially hawknation and fam. Go hawks..hawk for life."

Freshman running back Mika'il McCall also left the Iowa program last week, so Coker's departure makes it a remarkable 12 straight running backs who have left Iowa before their senior seasons. Damian Sims, who signed with Iowa in 2004, was the last scholarship RB recruit to play four full seasons with the Hawkeyes.

Kirk Ferentz is unavailable for comment, according to the university.

For more breaking news on this situation and the rest of the Iowa Hawkeyes, read the CBSSports.com Iowa RapidReports by Brendan Stiles.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 3:32 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 6:32 pm
 

2012 BCS Championship: Last thoughts from NOLA

Posted by Adam Jacobi

NEW ORLEANS -- Hey, folks. If you haven't read my feature on AJ McCarron, the first quarterback to win the BCS Championship as a sophomore or freshman, please do so here. Generally, when you think of the phrase "game manager" in relation to a quarterback, it sounds like a euphemism for "guy who can't throw more than 20 yards," but McCarron was phenomenal in his guidance of the Alabama offense against an insanely tough LSU defense, and a most deserving Offensive MVP for the Championship Game (see McCarron at right, accepting his award). So the fact that he's a redshirt sophomore playing like a four-year starter can't be celebrated enough. 

Here are a few more thoughts from New Orleans while I'm down here.

Honey badgers aren't cornerbacks: The "honey badger" nickname works for Tyrann Mathieu. It totally works. People complaining about Brent Musberger using it on television (I didn't watch the game on TV, but there were a lot of tweets grousing about it) (UPDATE: he did it 14 times) need to realize that this is a hipster's argument about music or a big-city homebuyer's argument amount gentrification, writ completely small. If something is enjoyable and underused, people will flock to it and you don't get to claim it to yourself anymore. Social nature abhors a fun vacuum.

That all said, Tyrann Mathieu is fantastic at injecting himself into plays that he's not supposed to be involved in and forcing turnovers and touchdowns. He is also 5'9" and LSU's third-best cover corner. So Alabama decided to run and throw right at this small defender, and surprise! He wasn't nearly as good on an island, without an opportunity to wreak havoc in the backfield.

When Alabama wasn't gearing its offensive attack toward Mathieu, it was using timing and blocking to ensure that he couldn't provide much value to LSU unless he was in coverage, and even then, he was routinely targeted to great success. Alabama basically didn't let him play Honey Badger, they made him play cornerback, and Mathieu is not a good cornerback yet. If Mathieu is running away from the line of scrimmage, he's probably not about to accomplish much. Lots of teams never figured that out this year. Alabama and Nick Saban did.

The peanut butter burger at Yo Mama's is a life-changer: I had several recommendations to go to Yo Mama's right off of Bourbon Street and try a burger that featured a combination of toppings I had never even thought to mix together by themselves, much less on top of a hamburger: peanut butter and bacon.



People. You can't even imagine. Why is the inventor of that sandwich not President of Foodworld? Foodworld is a country I just imagined in my head right now but it needs to be a real thing and this hamburger is why.

Oh, they're all really just friends in the SEC!: Speaking of Bourbon Street, I spent a few hours there over the course of the week (as pretty much the only person between 12 and 55 practicing moderation) and it's akin to being a blood cell in a clogged artery. To be surrounded by people who by and large don't share your mental state is a disorienting feeling, and if someone had a phobia about being accidentally jostled by a drunk frat boy who doesn't know where he's walking, Bourbon Street would probably set off a life-altering panic attack within a matter of seconds.

And yet, even for the tens of thousands of people I walked by, I never saw anybody lose their temper at an opposing fan. Oh, there were plenty of "ROLL TIDE"s and "TIGAH BAIT"s and "BAMA NUMBER ONE"s and "GEAUX LSU"s, but generally that was the full extent of communication between the two fanbases: one catchphrase at a high volume directed at an opposing fan's face with a smile, the other fan returning with his own catchphrase, and off the two go -- usually without so much as breaking stride.

It's not terribly intellectually stimulating conversation -- heck, "conversation" is a stretch to describe it at all -- but to give so many people from these two fanbases the drunkest nights of their lives and cram them all together into one crowded quarter ought to be a recipe for testosterone-fueled disaster, and that just didn't happen. Clearly, New Orleans is magical.

The AJ McCarron effigy idea didn't really work out too well: If you missed it on the Eye on College Football Twitter feed or the Eye on College Football Facebook page, here's a photo from Monday's tailgate of an AJ McCarron effigy, laid out on a stretcher with a pair of crutches, giving that poor, lonesome Bama fan a sad:


(Right click, open picture in a new tab for bigger version. Photo via US Presswire)

Now, I'm having a hard time deciding if I don't like this. Rooting for injuries is something that's pretty uniformly against the code of football fandom (exception that proves the rule: Oakland Raiders fans). As gallows humor goes, though, it's pretty well-executed, while being cartoonish and inattentive to detail enough that it doesn't come across like a warning from a serial killer. Plus, there are crutches there, so clearly this was a lower-body injury they foreboded for McCarron and not something life-threatening.

Now, "you're still not supposed to cheer for someone to mess up their leg, either" is still a perfectly valid argument, but it should also be noted that someone for Alabama did in fact have a nasty leg injury during the game: C.J. Mosely, who suffered a dislocated hip as he was tackled after making an interception in the second half. LSU fans didn't stand up and applaud Mosely's agony at that point, so it's not as if the McCarron injury proves that LSU fans are all bloodthirsty morons. They're not. This was just a dark taunt by one particularly resourceful tailgate, and while it's not particularly tasteful, the notion of SEC football fans never expressing any enmity for an opponent, not even in jest, also seems antithetical to the sport. This isn't the Pac-12!

(Quick aside: I only heard this idea advanced in passing conversations a couple times, but let's put it to bed right now: the notion that Jordan Jefferson intentionally injured Mosely is preposterous. Bas Rutten himself can't tackle someone who's running and wreck the person's hip on command, and to suggest a quarterback could do so just beggars belief. We all on the same page there? Good.)

And finally, I will miss you, NOLA. I've never been down here before. The motive has been there for years and years, but I never had the means and opportunity until now. The city did not disappoint. Case in point: on the first night I came down here, I sat in a bar full of gregarious men, beautiful women, and dogs. Literally, there were at least five dogs on leashes, right there in the open-air bar, watching the Saints game with the rest of us. A room in back held a $7 buffet, and the food was terrific. Of course it was. It's that night -- the locals, their bar, their dogs, their team, their food, their joie de vivre, their everything that I'll miss about this city when it's time to head back north.

I could never live down here, of course. The summers are sweltering enough in Iowa, and one resident's protestation to me that "you get used to it in no time" sounds like textbook Stockholm Syndrome. But the next time it's -10 and my eyes are frozen like Audrey Griswold's -- knowing Iowa, that'll be in about two or three weeks -- there's going to be one happy place my mind goes from now on: New Orleans.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page. 
Posted on: January 9, 2012 11:35 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Alabama 21, LSU 0



Posted by Adam Jacobi


ALABAMA WON. The Alabama Crimson Tide captured the 2012 BCS Championship with a suffocating 21-0 victory over LSU.

HOW ALABAMA WON: Alabama's defense held LSU to a paltry 92 yards, and Alabama kicker Jeremy Shelley hit five field goals out of a bowl record seven attempts. That, put together, was more than enough for Alabama to get the win and the title.

WHEN ALABAMA WON: The moment Les Miles decided he was never going to use Jarrett Lee in the game. Jordan Jefferson was downright abysmal as LSU's quarterback, going 11-17 for 53 yards and gaining 15 yards on 14 rushes, and while Alabama's defense deserves a great deal of credit for that, it should also be noted that Jefferson was equal parts indecisive and ineffective even when he did have time to throw the ball or run. True, Alabama victimized Lee in the two teams' first meeting, but Jefferson was much more productive in that game. Miles needed to make a change, and he didn't do it.

WHAT ALABAMA WON: Alabama takes home a well-earned BCS Championship, and Nick Saban has solidified his standing as the best coach in college football. AJ McCarron became the first sophomore or younger to win a BCS Championship, and Trent Richardson reminded everyone why he's the best back in college football by finishing the game off with a 34-yard touchdown scamper.

WHAT LSU LOST: As mentioned before, LSU was victimized by Les Miles' stubborn insistence on keeping Jordan Jefferson at quarterback, and LSU just never brought anything at Alabama that caught the Tide off guard. LSU didn't convert any third downs until the fourth quarter, and going into the fourth, LSU had two first downs to its name. The LSU defense could have played the game of its life and not overcome that kind of ineptitude on the other side of the ball. And for that, the crystal football eludes Les Miles and his charges this year.

THAT WAS CRAZY: In the game's first big play, Marquis Maze took a punt back 54 yards -- quite a feat considering LSU had allowed six punt return yards all season. Unfortunately, the return could have been even longer, but Maze pulled up lame in the middle of the return with a hurt hamstring. The injury kept him out for the rest of the game, but Maze's return set a tone that LSU couldn't match all game long.

FINAL GRADE: C. Alabama's defensive performance was the stuff of legend, but that doesn't change the fact that in eight games and an overtime, these two teams combined for 10 field goals and one touchdown. LSU looked downright inept at times -- which happens often against the Alabama defense -- and Oklahoma State fans must be wondering how hard it would have been for the Cowboys to beat LSU. But at least someone scored a touchdown.
Posted on: January 9, 2012 8:23 pm
 

PICTURES: The many faces of Les Miles

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Say what you will about LSU head coach Les Miles. No, seriously, say whatever you want. He doesn't care. And that refreshing, total lack of self-consciousness means he'll be as expressive as he wants during his press conferences. Like this.

At Sunday's press conference for the BCS Championship Game against Alabama, Miles was in vintage form, and there's nothing a camera loves more than Les at his best. Enjoy.













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