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Tag:coaching rumors
Posted on: November 27, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 3:52 pm
 

Coaching carousel begins in the Pac-12



Posted by Bryan Fischer


Hot shot commissioner, brand new media deal providing more exposure than ever, facilities upgrades, more money and increased focus on wins.

It's a good time to be a head coach in the Pac-12... except when you're being shown the door.

As the coaching carousel begins in earnest with the end of the regular season, the for-sale signs are popping up all over the West. Thanks in large part to that new media deal, schools are feeling the pressure to win just as much as their counterparts in other parts of the country. The landscape is shifting in college athletics and athletic directors are coming to the realization that they have to find the right guy to lead their program or it's time to make changes.

And if you're an AD even thinking about firing the head coach, you probably should do so. Many have already come to that conclusion and before the Pac-12 puts on the first ever conference title game, there will likely be a third of the league's schools looking at having a new head coach in 2012.

Arizona got a head start on the process and appears to have gotten an A-list head coach for a bargain basement price. Athletic director Greg Byrne is known as one of the sharpest AD's in the country and it showed by shrewdly firing Mike Stoops early in the season following a loss to Oregon State. That allowed him to take his time to research candidates and see who would be the best fit, going so far as to seek out the opinions of the state's high school coaches. Former CBS Sports analyst Rich Rodriguez had taken West Virginia to the cusp of playing for a national title and though he had a rocky time in Ann Arbor, Michigan improved each year he was there. Now he's in Tuscon and while he has another rebuilding job ahead of him, his offense should fit right in out West.

Up the road in Tempe, Arizona State comes open after Dennis Erickson saw the Sun Devils slip from South division locks to barely bowl eligible. Injuries no doubt played a part in 2011's slide but with so many returning starters and upperclassmen on the team, things never did pull together like ASU brass thought it would. For years, this job was thought to be a sleeping giant with access to plenty of talent, decent facilities, a good city to live in and the ability to get plenty of recruits into school. Athletic director Lisa Love will likely target Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin as her first choice (he'll bring plenty of offense and has put Houston a game away from a BCS bowl) but it's possible former Oregon head coach Mike Belloti and even Mike Leach will get an interview.

If Leach's issues (lawsuits against Texas Tech and ESPN, perhaps too open of a personality) don't get him the job with Arizona State, he could be taking his talents to the Palouse. Paul Wulff inherited one of the worst programs in the country - BCS conference or otherwise - and turned Washington State around by steadily improving from year-to-year. They pulled a few upsets this season, including one over ASU that likely shoved Erickson out the door, and came close several other times but it appears they're looking to go in another direction. Leach will have some talent on offense that can utilize his system to put up some big numbers and he knows he can win with the Cougars after seeing Mike Price take them to the Rose Bowl. A West Coast guy, Leach can recruit California with ease and would provide plenty of interest in a program that hasn't had much at all the past couple of years. If he takes a job elsewhere however, AD Bill Moos might have to turn to an assistant coach or a lower-level head coach to fill the needs of a program that seems to be on the right track in a tough division.

Finally there's UCLA, which is probably the most attractive job that will come open west of the Mississippi. One of the few issues is the fact that athletic director Dan Guerrero is himself on shaky ground and may not be making the hire. After Saturday's embarrassing 50-0 loss to crosstown rival USC, it's clear that the gap Rick Neuheisel so recently talked about closing has never been bigger. The Bruins will play in the first ever Pac-12 Championship Game but based on how they played against the Trojans, it looks like they'll just be sacrificial lambs to an Oregon team in the top ten. When - not if - Neuheisel is let go following the game, the direction the school takes in finding his replacement will be an interesting one. Alumni are clearly fed up with the losing and have a prime opportunity to take advantage of local talent with USC entering scholarship reductions for the next three years. The facilities are good and few campuses in the country can compare to what they have in Westwood.

Boise State's Chris Petersen is the name frequently tossed around as the Bruins' top target but they have a better chance of knocking off Oregon and going to the Rose Bowl than they do landing Petersen. Boosters are ready to pony up the cash - as much as $3 million or more - but who's handling the search remains to be seen. After missing with his previous football hires, it's hard to see that being Guerrero. After Petersen, Sumlin seems like the top candidate but they'll have to move quickly. Leach, who went to school at Pepperdine and is well-connected in Los Angeles, still seems like a long shot due to his legal issues but he would certainly put people in the seats at the Rose Bowl on Saturday. Off the radar candidates include Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, SMU's June Jones, Louisville's Charlie Strong and Belloti.

There are plenty of good jobs in the Pac-12 for the taking and someone is going to take them. Who and when remain to be seen.

Posted on: November 27, 2011 1:42 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Report: Neuheisel done after Pac-12 title game

Posted by Tom Fornelli

UCLA was blown out 50-0 by USC on Saturday night to finish the season at 6-6 and 5-4 in the Pac-12, but thanks to some NCAA sanctions currently in place at USC, the Bruins will be playing in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship against Oregon on Friday. Which means that there's a chance the 6-6 Bruins could end up playing in the Rose Bowl.

Though it doesn't seem that is going to be enough to save Rick Neuheisel's job at the school. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Neuheisel will meet with UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero after the game to discuss his future at the school, and the report says the chances Neuheisel will retain his job are "bleak."

When Guerrero was asked about Neuheisel's job status on Saturday, he responded to a question about whether or not a Rose Bowl berth would be enough to save Neuheisel's job by answering "that we're preparing to play for the Rose Bowl should be exciting for all Bruins fans." An answer that doesn't exactly answer anything. When asked if he would bring Neuheisel back if UCLA reached the Rose Bowl, Guerrero ended the interview.

Neuheisel just finished his fourth season at UCLA, and he's 21-28 in that span.
Posted on: November 15, 2011 4:22 pm
 

VIDEO: Rodriguez still has 'the hunger to coach'

Posted by Chip Patterson

Former West Virginia and Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez admits he has enjoyed his time as an analyst for CBS Sports Network. But that does not mean he has given up on the idea of returning to coaching.

"I still have the hunger to coach," Rodriguez told Tim Brando on Tuesday's edition of the Tim Brando Show. "We'll see what happens in the next three or four weeks."

Rodriguez and Brando discussed the challenges of coaching at a place like Ole Miss, where you are competing with some of the best programs in the nation. Rich Rod, along with former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach, have been some of the names immediately tied to both current and future vacancies all over the FBS. Check out the video below to hear Rodriguez weigh in on life as an analyst, and his thoughts on dealing with the legalities of former employers.



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Posted on: November 13, 2011 2:01 am
Edited on: November 13, 2011 2:28 am
 

ACC Winners and Losers: Week 11



Posted by Chip Patterson


A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.

WINNER: Virginia Tech's offensive backfield

The Hokies moved into control of the ACC Coastal Division thanks to another set of outstanding offensive performances from sophomore quarterback Logan Thomas and running back David Wilson. Wilson's gaudy numbers have become standard-issue for Virginia Tech, but Thursday night's 175 yard outing cemented his status as a contender for ACC Player of the Year. Thomas added 70 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, a nice compliment to his three touchdown passes. Between Wilson's elusiveness and Thomas' strength running the ball, they form a dangerous duo that any defense struggles to stop. Virginia Tech hasn't clinched their fifth division title in seven years yet, they still have North Carolina and in-state rival Virginia left on the schedule. But with the way Thomas and Wilson have been performing recently, I like their chances to be in Charlotte for a rematch with Clemson on Dec. 3.

LOSER: Georgia Tech LB Jeremiah Attaochu

With a 26-21 lead late in the third quarter, Attaochu appeared to have Logan Thomas stopped in his tracks on third down. The Hokies were deep in their own territory, and the punt would have given the Yellow Jackets the ball with great field position as the final period approached. But as the talented linebacker struggled to bring the 6-foot-6 250+ pound quarterback to the ground, Attaochu made a serious mistake throwing a punch.

"I just had an overdose of adrenalin," Attaochu explained after the game. "When I made contact with him, I was mad he wouldn't go down."

The personal foul penalty kept the Virginia Tech drive alive, and it ended with a 12-yard Logan Thomas touchdown run to give the Hokies a 27-26 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The penalty was undoubtedly the turning point of the second half, after the Yellow Jackets had put together two dominating touchdown drives. The loss knocked Georgia Tech out of contention for the ACC Championship Game, one of the primary goals for this team after last season's disappointing 6-7 finish.

WINNER: Chandler Catanzaro

Clemson's defense followed Tajh Boyd's game tying touchdown pass to Jaron Brown by forcing Wake Forest into a three and out. The field position was ideal, but Boyd was only able to drive the Tigers down to the 13 before Dabo Swinney tapped kicker Chandler Catanzaro to kick the potential game-winning field goal with less than 90 seconds remaining. Catanzaro has been streaky over the last two seasons, but from 30 yards the kick was expected to be a routine make for the sophomore from Greenville, S.C.. Catanzaro missed the kick, sending shock through Death Valley as Clemson fans saw their status as ACC Atlantic frontrunners shaken for the moment. But the Tigers' defense once again answered, giving Catanzaro another shot to win the game and lock up the Atlantic Division title. This time from 43-yards out, Catanzaro was iced twice by Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe before splitting the upright as time expired, booking Clemson's ticket to the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 3 in Charlotte.

LOSER: Jimmy Newman

Wake Forest had Death Valley silenced for a moment in the third quarter on Saturday, after the Demon Deacons scored 21 points in a five minute period to take a 28-14 lead on the ninth-ranked Tigers. But while Chandler Catanzaro got his shot at redemption and hit the game-winning field goal, Wake Forest kicker Jimmy Newman has to walk away from a three point loss after missing two field goals, including one from 32 yards in the fourth quarter. There were plenty of other breakdowns - like the defense allowing Tajh Boyd to pick apart the secondary with receivers NOT named Sammy Watkins, or the offenses sudden inability to control the Clemson pass rush - but games this close come down to execution in routine areas like special teams. While still not bowl eligible, Wake Forest was a field goal away from taking the inside track towards their second ACC Championship Game appearance. After failing to pull the upset on Saturday, the Demon Deacons head home needing a win against either Maryland or Vanderbilt to make the postseason.

WINNER: Luke Kuechly

The man they call "Superman" in Chestnut Hill was just that on Saturday in Boston College's 14-10 victory over NC State. While the Eagles were getting no help from their offense in the second half (-2 yards of total offense), the defense stepped up against a relentless Wolfpack squad led by the gunslinging Mike Glennon. All-American linebacker Luke Kuechly recorded 18 tackles int he victory, his 32nd straight game with double digits in tackles.

Not only was Kuechly all over the field making plays, but he was stepping up when his team needed stops the most. Nine of his 18 tackles were recorded in the final 13 minutes of play, as Boston College fought off NC State in a scoreless fourth quarter. Kuechly entered the game as the nation's leading tackler, and his current total of 168 already has him closing in on last season's nation-leading total of 183. Boston College has suffered setbacks in nearly every aspect of the roster, but Kuechly has been the one consistent piece of Frank Spaziani's 2011 unit. How much longer either will last in Chestnut Hill is still unclear, but coaches and fans alike will enjoy every down Kuechly has left this season.

LOSER: Tom O'Brien

After listing the NC State head coach as a winner in Week 10, TOB walks away from Week 11 as one of the losers. O'Brien had all the momentum after winning the on-field and off-field war with in-state rival North Carolina. But Saturday's loss to his former team, Boston College, gives O'Brien naysayers plenty of ammo for the "hot seat" discussion. Not only is O'Brien winless on the road against his former employer, but the Wolfpack have not won an Atlantic Division road game since his arrival in Raleigh.

O'Brien's squads have often been right on the verge of bowl eligibility, but only reaching the postseason twice. For NC State to be bowl eligible this season, they now need to defeat both Clemson and Maryland at home in the next two weeks. If the Wolfpack had been able to win in Chestnut Hill on Saturday, next week's matchup with No. 9 Clemson would not be a must-win. O'Brien's record at NC State is exactly .500 after the loss, and his record against conference opponents is l6-22. The Wolfpack fans love that TOB is undefeated against rival North Carolina, but those wanting to cause a job security stir will have a stronger argument if the Wolfpack miss the postseason for the third time in O'Brien's five years.


WINNERS: Streaky Florida State

The 23-19 win over in-state rival Miami signaled both the end and continuation of streaks for the Seminoles. For the first time since 2005 the home team in the Miami-Florida State rivalry won, with the Seminoles claiming the last home victory six years ago in Tallahassee. But while that streak came to a halt, Florida State extended their current win streak to five games.

Ever since EJ Manuel returned to the starting lineup after suffering a shoulder injury against Oklahoma, the Seminoles have been a completely different team offensively. In the five-game stretch, the 'Noles are averaging 35.4 points per game, and the rotating running back position seems to have settled on freshman Devonta Freeman as the primary back for the future. Unfortunately, the Clemson loss earlier in the season has the Seminoles out of the ACC Atlantic Division race. The work put in now helps improve their bowl bid possibilities and builds for another shot at the ACC with many of these same players in 2012.

LOSER: Maryland's locker room

Things have gone from bad to worse for Maryland, who picked up their sixth straight loss - their eighth in nine games - in the 45-21 loss to Notre Dame at FedEx Field. After a uninspiring effort in their home finale at Byrd Stadium, Maryland donned their "Maryland Pride" uniforms for Saturday's neutral field contest with the Fighting Irish in the home of the Washington Redskins. On Friday, reports of dissension within the Terrapins locker room was confirmed by players - including kicker Nick Ferrara.

"At this point, it's not like two sides of the cafeteria - this side is buying in, this side is not," Ferrara told The Washington Post. "People are keeping it to themselves. No one knows who is going to go [transfer], who is going to stay, who is feeling which way."

The Terrapins suffered yet another setback in the loss to the Irish, with sophomore quarterback Danny O'Brien breaking a bone in "his upper arm" during the third quarter. The 2010 ACC Rookie of the Year has already been ruled out for the final two games of the season. O'Brien's absence leaves sophomore C.J. Brown as the only available scholarship quarterback. The Terps travel to Winston-Salem next week to face Wake Forest before wrapping up the season at NC State at the end of the month.

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. | Preview
Posted on: November 9, 2011 4:31 pm
 

VIDEO: Mike Leach a good fit for Ole Miss?

Posted by Chip Patterson

Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach has made it clear he is ready to get back into coaching. His name was mentioned frequently as a possible replacement at Maryland and Miami last season, and he has already been identified as a possible target for FAU, Tulane, and Arizona. With Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt's eventual dismissal at season's end now evident, some are wondering if Leach could end up in the SEC.

As our own Tom Fornelli wrote on Tuesday, Leach has expressed interest in the Ole Miss job to The Commercial Appeal. He spoke highly of the position, and reminded everyone that "I'm not too hard to find" if the search committee were interested in Leach.  Mississippi has struggled to hang with an SEC West division that has grown stronger over the last half-decade, and the former Red Raiders coach might be just different enough from his colleagues to make the Rebels stand out among their peers.

SEC football writer Ron Higgins weighed in on the Ole Miss job opening with Tim Brando on Wednesday, including his opinion on Mike Leach's fit in Oxford.



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. | Preview
Posted on: November 8, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 3:17 pm
 

Mike Leach interested in Ole Miss job

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In his post on Houston Nutt's firing at Ole Miss on Monday, our own Jerry Hinnen said that Mike Leach will "be along any minute to mention how much he'd love a shot at coaching in the SEC." Well, that minute is now.

On Tuesday Mike Leach told The Commercial Appeal that if Ole Miss is interested in hiring him to replace Nutt, he isn't hard to find.

“I haven’t heard from anybody, but I’m not too hard to find,” Leach told the paper. “It’s a great job. I’m sure the (Ole Miss) administration has a certain individual it is looking for, and I’m sure they’ll find the right guy.”

As for whether or not Leach will be a target or get the job, nobody knows.

The fact of the matter is that anytime an opening is created at a program these days, Leach's name is mentioned as a replacement. Just recently he was mentioned as a candidate at Tulane, his name has come up in rumors about Arizona, and he was mentioned at places like Miami and Maryland last season as well.

He's yet to be hired anywhere, and as long as he has his current lawsuit against his former employer Texas Tech, the odds are he won't be on the sidelines anywhere. Which is a shame. Leach is one of my favorite coaches in the sport, along with one of the best, and this sport is just better off when he's a part of it.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:16 am
Edited on: October 21, 2011 11:42 am
 

UCLA AD gives Neuheisel vote of confidence

Posted by Chip Patterson

UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel has dealt with questions about the "hot seat" all season. They started at Pac-12 media days when the long-time coach brought the topic up himself, and it definitely came up after the Bruins' 48-12 beatdown at the hands of Arizona on Thursday night. But despite the rough start in Westwood, athletic director Dan Guerrero made it clear he's not ready to follow Arizona's lead and make a coaching change in the immediate future.

"No. No, not at all," Guerrero told the LA Daily News in response to questions about firing Neuheisel. "I don't know why anyone would think that we would pull the trigger like that. My philosophy on early terminations may be different than some. That's not to say I disrespect anyone else that makes a decision they have to make. Every situation is a little bit different."

The loss drops the Bruins to 3-4 overall, with five conference games left on the schedule before Guerrero will have to make a definite vote of confidence or decision on Neuheisel's future at UCLA. The athletic director told the media he wants consistency out of the team, and there is plenty of football left for the Bruins to show that consistency. But there is also plenty of football left to help the argument from UCLA fans for a coaching change. The three wins have come against San Jose State, Oregon State, and Washington State; with none of them being more than a 10-point victory. Quarterback Kevin Prince needs to get comfortable back in the starting lineup, and the defense can't let games get out of hand the way they did on Thursday.

While Guerrero says Neuheisel's job is safe for now, the Bruins have some ground to make up if he's going to be around for 2012.

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. | Preview
Posted on: October 12, 2011 11:48 am
Edited on: October 12, 2011 11:48 am
 

FAU interested in Mike Leach, Randy Shannon

Posted by Tom Fornelli

With Howard Schnellenberger retiring at the end of the season, FAU has already begun planning for his replacement, and the school has a couple of big names in mind. According to a report in the Miami Herald, FAU athletic director Craig Angelos plans on talking to both former Miami head coach Randy Shannon and former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach.

"Randy is a man of integrity, a first-class guy and first-class coach,” Angelos told the Herald. “I want to see if he’s interested.

“A lot of times when you give people a second chance they are better than the first time. They’ve learned from mistakes. They’re hungrier. That was the case with our basketball coach Mike Jarvis, and he won the conference here after three years. Randy can be better the second time around.”

Angelos also said that he "would consider" Leach and that the issues surrounding Leach that have kept him from getting a job elsewhere after his acrimonious -- and litigious -- departure from Texas Tech wouldn't be a problem at FAU. Angelos also mentioned the name of Jim Leavitt as a candidate, as he plans to "cast a wide net" and hopes to have something in place by December.

As for whether or not the interest in Shannon and Leach would be mutual, it doesn't sound like it with Shannon. According to the report, a "close associate" of Shannon's says he prefers a higher profile job than that of FAU, and would prefer it was out west, with the Arizona job currently catching his eye.

Leach, on the other hand, didn't say no.

“I do plan to coach,” said Leach when asked if he'd consider the FAU gig. “Craig is a great man and FAU is a great program. Anything negative that happens to Miami can only help FAU and FIU.”
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com