Tag:Coaching Carousel
Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:08 pm

Golden hires Seahawks' Fisch to run 'Cane offense

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Miami head coach Al Golden may not have been able to keep Alabama from poaching away his offensive line coach yesterday , but he appears to have taken a big step forward in putting together his offensive staff all the same today . Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch has agreed to become the Hurricanes' offensive coordinator after one season under Pete Carroll in the Pacific Northwest.

And although Fisch has spent most of his coaching career in the NFL, he also has one year of experience as an offensive coordinator at the collegiate level, having helmed the Gopher attack at Minnesota for one year under Tim Brewster. Unfortunately, as the Miami Herald's Manny Navarro points out, that year didn't go so well:

Fisch will have substantially more talent on hand a Miami than he did in Minneapolis, but all the same he'll clearly have to do a much better job of preparation and play-calling to stay in the Hurricane job any longer than he stayed with the Gophers.

That said, Fisch has worked with any number of well-regarded head coaches -- including Steve Spurrier, his head coach when Fisch broke into coaching as a graduate assistant at Florida -- and with all accounts describing him as a young, energetic coach, he should be able to connect with both Miami's players and potential recruits. If he's learned from his Minnesota experience, Golden could have found himself a coaching steal.

Posted on: January 12, 2011 5:50 pm

Gary Crowton still at LSU ... for now

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Not that coaching at LSU doesn't come with far, far more than its fair share of interesting days, but it's safe to say this one has been more interesting than most for current -- and potentially future -- Bayou Bengal offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.

A longtime target of abuse from LSU fans upset (and understandably so) with their immensely talented team's recent finishes in the SEC in total offense -- dead last in 2009, before an improvement all the way to 11th in 2010 -- Crowton had reportedly been dismissed by head coach Les Miles this week, according to Lousiana-based reporter Glenn Guilbeau . But only hours after that report surfaced, Crowton himself went public to say that he is still a member of the LSU staff :

LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton has not been fired and for now at least, still plans on being on Les Miles’ LSU staff next season.

Crowton responded to a text message asking if he had been let go and said “No, I’ve been on a plane. Heading back to Baton Rouge right now. Have not been fired.”

He called moments later and said “I’m still a Tiger and plan on being one next year.”

Some of the confusion no doubt stems from the fact that Crowton did admit to interviewing for the Maryland offensive coordinator's position under new coach Randy Edsall, a colleague of Crowton's at Boston College in the early '90s. If Crowton was fully committed to LSU and knew LSU was fully committed to him, it's worth asking why he'd bother to pursue the Maryland job.

The obvious answer is that one side or the other isn't, in fact, all that committed. Miles didn't exactly shut the door to a staff shakeup when he said the following during a Tuesday press conference (emphasis added):
“I really don't know exactly what to tell you. I know we'll have a staff meeting on Thursday morning. I'm not ready to say that there won't be some changes on the staff . I don't know that I necessarily am going to be the factor there as opposed to other great opportunities so we'll have to see how that goes.”
Crowton's all right for today. But tomorrow promises to be just as interesting.

(Oh, and an aside about that last, wonderfully Milesian sentence in the quote immediately above: it means "Some of the staff may be hired away by other teams rather than being fired by LSU." We think.)

Posted on: January 7, 2011 7:53 pm

Harsin, Applewhite named UT co-coordinators

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

After several hours of reports corroborating each other, it's all but official : Bryan Harsin of Boise State and current Texas running backs coach Major Applewhite will be co-offensive coordinators next season at Texas.

Though there's nothing out of the official Longhorn camp just yet, Harsin appears to have spent at least 24 hours in Austin visiting and deliberating his offer to replace Greg Davis as -- we believe -- the Longhorns' primary play-caller. Apparently, he's accepted, giving Mack Brown and Co. one of the nation's hottest young offensive minds; at 34 years old and the Broncos' offensive coordinator since 2006, Harsin has already guided Boise to five finishes in the national top 20 for total offense.

As for Applewhite, while it's not entirely clear what his role will be, his promotion ensures that one of the few Longhorn offensive staff members who escaped the team's 2010 implosion with their reputations intact -- witness the rumors Will Muschamp would be taking Applewhite with him to direct the offense at Florida -- will remain in Austin and provide a sense of continuity as Harsin takes over.

As for what the Longhorn offense will look like under the Harsin-Applewhite tag team, if there's anything certain, it's that it'll feature a greater emphasis on the running game after Brown said his offseason focus (for what feels like the 10th straight year) would be on finding someone to instill more toughness (and, you know, success) in the Longhorn ground attack. But as for specifics, if it winds up looking like Harsin's Boise offense, the best place to start is this post at the ever-brilliant Smart Football , which breaks down the Bronco philosophy as one that doesn't stick to a singular scheme, formation, or approach; it simply finds plays that work, whether out of a pro set or spread, and executes them. Or as a Bronco assistant put it: "We run plays, we don’t have an offense."

Ironically, many a Longhorn fan disappointed with Davis's grab-bag of an offense have leveled that same boast as a criticism of the previous offensive regime. But if Harsin can produce an offense in Austin remotely as productive as the one he oversaw in Boise -- if he can turn that lack of identity into the strength of unpredictability rather than the weakness of confusion -- no one in burnt orange will be complaining.

Posted on: January 6, 2011 3:07 pm

Miss. St. replaces Diaz with DL coach Wilson

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When Dan Mullen was in the market for a new defensive coordinator last offseason, he surprised many by plucking away then-nearly-unheard of coordinator from Middle Tennessee State named Manny Diaz. Diaz's highly impressive single season in Starkville got him hired away by Texas yesterday afternoon, but this time Mullen isn't getting nearly so creative in naming a replacement:

There's lots of reasons to think this decision will work out just fine; Wilson is due to step up to a coordinator's chair after several highly productive years coaching the defensive lines at both Oklahoma and State, and his promotion will give the Bulldogs desirable continuity both in their defensive game-planning and late-cycle recruiting (which, at the moment looks dramtically shakier following Diaz's exit). Also, obviously, Mullen ought to know better than anyone whether Wilson is coordinator material.

At the same time, that Mullen had so much success last go-round looking outside his staff means he might be selling himself short by not even conducting a search. It seems much more likely for Wilson to succeed than not, but if he doesn't, some will wonder if Mullen didn't act a bit too quickly here.
Posted on: January 5, 2011 5:28 pm

Manny Diaz to become new Texas D coordinator

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Per the Jackson Clarion-Legder's Kyle Veazey, the speculation surrounding Mississippi State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz's possible move to the same position at Texas is over :

In the 36-year-old Diaz, the 'Horns are bringing in one of FBS's most exciting young coordinators, whose hyper-aggressive blitz-heavy schemes gave up the occasional big play but also took a lightly-regarded Bulldog defense all the way to 17th in the country in rushing defense. The last two times Mack Brown was in the market for a defensive coordinator he looked for an up-and-comer in the SEC West and struck gold hiring both Gene Chizik and, later, Will Muschamp away from Auburn; from here it looks like he's done so again.

As for State, losing Diaz this late in the recruiting cycle hurts, but that's life at their level of the college football food chain (and at least they can claim a modicum of sympathy from Auburn fans still bitter over the Longhorns' previous coaching raids). And hey, with Michigan in the market for a coach who could put Denard Robinson's unique talents to their best use -- someone like, say, Dan Mullen -- they may have bigger issues to worry about.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 1:56 pm

Arizona hires BYU ex-coordinator Anae

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

In the wake of his Wildcats' 36-10 Alamo Bowl demolition at the hands of Oklahoma State (and final, disappointing 2010 record of 7-6), Mike Stoops promised changes in Tucson. And the departure of co-offensive coordinator Bill Bedenbaugh to follow Dana Holgorsen (somewhat ironically, the architect of the Wildcats' Alamo embarrassment) to West Virginia would seem to give Stoops a perfect opportunity to shake things up for the nation's 89th-ranked rushing offense. But his latest coaching hire seems like more of the same.

Bedenbaugh, fellow co-offensive coordinator Seth Littrell (the Wildcats' primary play-caller), and former 'Cat OC and current Louisiana Tech head coah Sonny Dykes were all hired by Stoops out of the Mike Leach coaching tree that also produced Holgorsen. Instead of moving away from that philosophy, however, Stoops has embraced it once again by replacing Bedenbaugh with former BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae , yet another Leach disciple.

In a lot of ways, Anae's hire makes sense all the same. Bedenbaugh's departure puts Arizona in the market for an offensive line coach, which just so happened to be Anae's role at Texas Tech before becoming the Cougars' play-caller. There was also no lack of productivity during Anae's years at BYU; until this year's crater job under a pair of first-time quarterbacks, BYU's offense had finished in the top 25 nationally in total offense for four straight years on Anae's watch. If Stoops wants to strip Littrell of his play-calling duties, Anae would seem to be a viable candidate to take them over.

All the same, if Stoops was serious about really changing things up, he'd have plucked an apple off of a coaching tree other than the same Lubbock-grown one he's visited so many times before. Staying the course may prove the proper decision -- until this season, the Leach brigade had played a major, major role in the program's steady improvement under Stoops -- but if 2010 was the start of a long-term downswing rather than a one-year fluke, Stoops may wish he'd have taken the opportunity to plot a very different course for his offense.

Posted on: January 4, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: January 4, 2011 10:09 am

Harbaugh 'highly unlikely' to go to Michigan?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen
At this point, it's the worst-case scenario for Michigan and Wolverine athletic director Dave Brandon: let Rich Rodriguez twist in the wind for a month in the hopes of potentially landing Jim Harbaugh, watch Rodriguez's team get buried -- again -- in their bowl game, see recruits (and huge swaths of the fanbase) jump ship as the bulk of the free world assumes RichRod is a fired coach walking, watch Harbaugh destroy Virginia Tech in Stanford's bowl game as an indication of what the Wolverines would ge getting ... and then, finally, after all that, have Harbaugh tell his alma mater he's not interested after all.

But that's exactly the scenario Detroit Free-Press columnist Michael Rosenberg has laid out for the Wolverines, reporting that a source "with direct knowledge of Harbaugh’s thinking" has told him that the Orange Bowl champion is "highly unlikely" to accept an offer to become the new Michigan head man:
Harbaugh plans to decide this week whether he wants to take a job in the NFL. If he stays in college coaching, he has decided he will stay at Stanford, where he has built a potential powerhouse. It would take an extreme change of heart for Harbaugh to end up in Ann Arbor, according to the person, who did not want to be identified because Rich Rodriguez is still U-M’s coach.
If you're Stanford, it's time to do some cartwheels, since the assumption for nearly the entire bowl season has been that if Michigan didn't poach him away, some NFL suitor would. For the Cardinal to still be a serious option for Harbaugh at this late stage would be something of a victory in and of itself.

But if you're Michigan, well, whatever the opposite of a cartwheel is (pantomiming bashing one's own head with a hammer?), it's time to do that. If Rosenberg's source is accurate, the Wolverines are left in an almost untenable position; they either let Rodriguez coach (and recruit, or, more accurately, fail to recruit) another year with the guillotine publicly perched over his head, or they enter into a full-on coaching search with lots of other attractive candidates already spoken for and less than a month to go until Signing Day.

By waiting until after the bowl games, Brandon has essentially put all his eggs into Harbaugh's basket. If Harbaugh returns that basket with a note saying "thanks, but no thanks," Rodriguez's rocky tenure might only be the start of the Wolverines' misery.

Posted on: January 3, 2011 12:28 pm

Gators hire Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

After some false starts and blind alleys, Will Muschamp has his right-hand man on the Florida defensive staff, as Seattle Seahawks defensive line coach Dan Quinn will become the Gators new defensive coordinator , the Gainesville Sun has reported. Quinn will officially join the Gator staff following the Seahawks' (probably short-lived) playoff run

Forgive Gator fans, though, for wondering if maybe one of those alleys (particularly the one labeled "Kirby Smart") might have led somewhere more exciting than Quinn. Muschamp is familiar with Quinn from their brief shared tenure working under Nick Saban for the Miami Dolphins, where Muschamp served as Saban's defensive coordinator and Quinn coached the defensive line, but Quinn has no prior experience as a coordinator at the FBS level -- he spent one season as the DC for the since-terminated Hofstra program in 2000 -- and hasn't been a college coach in any capacity in a decade.

The good news is that with Muschamp around, the Gators could have promoted Albert and Alberta Gator to co-defensive coordinators and still have more than enough defensive know-how to get the job done. Quinn has precious little experience calling defensive plays (particularly against the spread that's becoming the ever-more-predominant college base offense), but if Muschamp handles that responsibility, Quinn's NFL seasoning and Saban/Muschamp grooming should make him a useful stragegist all the same. The biggest hurdle might be learning the recruiting ropes at a major program like Florida, but the Gators have never seriously struggled in that department regardless of who was on staff.

So is Quinn a home run hire? No. But Muschamp knows what he's getting and knows from defensive coaches, so until/unless Quinn proves him wrong, he'll also deserve the benefit of the doubt.

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