Tag:Damaris Johnson
Posted on: January 18, 2011 2:31 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2011 2:31 pm
 

Headset Reset: reviewing hires in C-USA, Sun Belt

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

"Headset Reset" is the College Football Blog's series reviewing the 22 new head coaches in the FBS and what they'll need to accomplish in their new jobs to succeed. In this edition: the four new head coaches in Conference USA and the Sun Belt .


BILL BLANKENSHIP, Tulsa

Why him? Former Tulsa quarterback was promoted from running backs/special teams coach to maintain 10-3, top-25 status quo. For 2011, Blankenship needs to: find a replacement for departed offensive coordinator Chad Morris, who took the same position at Clemson after being passed over the Tulsa head job; the right hire could turn Tulsa's nine returning offensive starters (including quarterback G.J. Kinne and all-purpose weapon Damaris Johnson) into another double-digit win season. By 2014, Blankenship will need to have: won a C-USA title. For all of the Golden Hurricane's offensive fireworks under Todd Graham, their only league championship came back in 2005 under Steve Kragthorpe. Chances Blankenship gets what he needs? Fair-to-middling. Tulsa's points-happy brand should be strong enough to keep them near the top of the league standings (provided Blankenship doesn't blow the OC hire), but will simply promoting a position coach really be enough to get them over the hump?

DAN McCARNEY, North Texas (pictured)

Why him? Far and away the most recognizable name among the new C-USA/SBC hires, the 57-year-old McCarney spent 12 successful seasons as Iowa State's head coach before supervising the defensive lines at South Florida and Florida. For 2011, McCarney needs to: just offer some kind of hope. The snake-bitten Mean Green (4 losses in 2010 by total of 13 points) have won only 13 games in six seasons. By 2014, McCarney will need to have: found some semblance of a defense. UNT hasn't had too many problems offensively, but they won't accomplish anything until one of the nation's worst defenses is brought up to code. Chances McCarney gets what he needs? Decent. McCarney may be a little too long in the tooth (and the program may have decayed too badly) to bring back the Mean Green's early-Aughts glory days, but the old pro should have the defensive chops to at least bring UNT back to respectability.

HUGH FREEZE, Arkansas State

Why him? Former Ole Miss assistant made famous by The Blind Side was promoted from offensive coordinator after leading Red Wolves to better than 400 yards per game, vaulting them from 95th to 43rd in total offense. For 2011, Freeze needs to: get to .500. Disappointing 4-8 records the last two seasons earned Steve Roberts a pink slip, but with Ryan Aplin back at quarterback and better luck due after going 1-5 in one-possession games in 2010, there's no reason (other than a revamped offensive line) Freeze can't get the Red Wolves back to 6-6. By 2014, Freeze will need to have: established ASU as an upper-tier Sun Belt program. Getting past Troy and up-and-coming FIU won't be easy, but there's nothing stopping the Red Wolves from joining in the SBC mix. Chances Freeze gets what he needs? Good. Freeze knows his way around the Arkansas and Tennessee recruiting scenes and has a sharp offensive mind; those traits alone should be enough to get the Red Wolves back to the postseason (for the first time since 2005) sooner rather than later.

MARK HUDSPETH, Lousiana (formerly UL-Lafayette)

Why him? Before taking a job on Dan Mullen's staff at Mississippi State , Hudpseth excelled as the head coach at Division II North Alabama, going 66-20 in seven seasons. For 2011, Hudspeth needs to: right the ship. A series of near-misses at a winning season under Rickey Bustle dissolved in a 3-9 disaster in 2010; a simple step in the right direction will be enough for one of the FBS's most tradition-deficient programs. By 2014, Hudspeth will need to have: earned a bowl bid. The Ragin' Cajuns have never taken part in FBS postseason play. Chances Hudspeth gets what he needs? Not bad. There's room to be upwardly mobile in the Sun Belt, and despite a relatively bare cupboard, Hudspeth has quality head coaching experience at only 42 years of age.



Posted on: December 25, 2010 1:49 am
 

Bowl Grades: Sheraton Hawaii Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

Tulsa uses speedy scoring to keep Hawaii in check on their home turf in the 62-35 win.

TULSA

Offense:  It was going to be tough to try and keep up with the nation's best passing offense score for score, so Tusla did a fantastic job of seizing every opportunity they were given.  Thankfully for Golden Hurricanes fans, Hawaii offered up enough opportunities to stimulate an economy against Tulsa in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.  Tulsa took advantage of Hawaii's mistakes to jump out to an early lead on the heavily favored Warriors.  The thing that was so impressive about Tulsa's offense was their relentlessness once the lead was established.  They scored quickly and often, continuing to steal all the momentum from a Hawaii team that did their best to rally a not-so-neutral crowd in a comeback.  Wide receiver Damaris Johnson wrote himself into the NCAA record books with 326 all-purpose yards, and Hawaii had no answer for the quick-strike attack of Tulsa.  GRADE: A   

Defense: Tulsa didn't do a ton of radically impressive things in their gameplan, but what the simple things worked on Friday.  Hawaii has one of the best passing offenses in the country, and for some reason dropping a linebacker into coverage seemed foreign to both Bryant Moniz and G.J. Kinney.  Both quarterbacks threw interceptions in the first half on coverage-heavy plays by the Golden Hurricanes.  The stats also do not accurately represent the effect of Tulsa's defense sucking the momentum away from Hawaii with the turnovers.  GRADE: B

Coaching: The Golden Hurricanes entered the game as a two-score underdog basically playing an away game.  But none of these obstacles seemed to bother a Tulsa team that came in with the utmost expectations of winning.  Have to impressed with Tulsa's preparation and aggressiveness coming into the game.  Over and over again, it seems that half of the postseason battle is seeing which team cares more, and Tulsa seemed to have that edge about them on Friday. GRADE: B+

HAWAII

Offense:  If Hawaii thought they were going to run n shoot over the Golden Hurricanes on their home turf they were sorely mistaken Statistically, there are tons of reasons to believe that Hawaii's offense was successful on Friday night. Unfortunately, all of that analysis requires you ignore the fact that they had six turnovers. Sure, 471 sounds about right for a Warriors win. But having multiple drives end in turnovers and allowing Tulsa to convert those turnovers into points continued to keep Hawaii stuck behind a deficit the entire game. GRADE: F

Defense: The Warriors not only allowed Tulsa to score in plentiful amounts, but they allowed it to happen at record speeds.  The longest (time) scoring drive Hawaii gave up on Friday night was 3:31, and that was late in the fourth quarter with the game decided.  Granted, the defense was not given much of a chance with the turnovers by the offense, but still it is hard to leave a 62-35 game and feel like the losing team really did their best out there on the defensive side of the ball. GRADE: F

Coaching:  Outside of a general lack of preparation for the moment, it is difficult to pin the blame for Hawaii's embarrasment on head coach Greg McMackin.  The team did come into the game flat, but the coaching had nothing to do with the first half turnovers that basically buried the Warriors.  I will give the coaching staff credit for keeping Hawaii fighting for a while, but by the fourth quarter they did a great job of making their opponents look like the runners and shooters.  GRADE: C-

FINAL GRADE
All in all, the Hawaii Bowl was not the best game on the slate thus far.  Not that we have been served the most gourmet menu thus far, but still a painful second half to watch.  The stadium in Honolulu had less fans than points on the scoreboard by the time the final horn sounded, and my guess is that most of the national audience chose to divert to other holiday festivities.  There was a lot of scoring, and the big plays at least gave some "wow" factor.  Still far too sloppy to laud the "greatness" of the game.  GRADE: C
 
 
 
 
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