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Tag:Gary Patterson
Posted on: January 26, 2011 5:43 pm
 

2011 returning starters: a first glance

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's never too early to start thinking about the next college football season, and that means it's never too early to ask the inevitable first question of any team going forward: How many starters do they have returning?

Fortunately, preview magazine maven Phil Steele has worked to provide a convenient answer to that query, releasing today a chart ranking all 120 FBS teams according to their offensive, defensive, and specialist starters returning.

There's plenty of time to delve far more deeply into college football's 2011 outlook, but a few immediate impressions after looking over the Steele chart:
  • SEC teams finish at both the top and bottom of the chart, with Vanderbilt leading the way behind all 11 2010 offensive starters remaining on the roster. But more notable is that after losing eight offensive starters, seven defensive, and both kickers, defending national champion Auburn comes in dead last, 120th out of 120. Gene Chizik will have his work cut out for him.

  • A couple of new head coaches in the Midwest step into very favorable situations. Brady Hoke will be able to draw upon nine returning starters on either side of the ball at Michigan and will only have to generate any kind of defensive pulse to be hailed as an improvement on Rich Rodriguez. But even he won't have it as cushy as Don Treadwell, who takes over the defending MAC champions at Miami (Ohio) and has 18 starters back to work with, good for 10th on the list.

  • A lot of early talk in the SEC West has focused on what LSU returns at the skill positions and what Alabama has lost, but behind nine returning defensive starters and both specialists, the Tide still boasts two more starters back than their Bayou Bengal rivals.

  • 2010 was almost certainly the high-water mark for the crumbling WAC. Not only is bellwether Boise State moving on to the Mountain West, but Nevada and Hawaii return just eight offensive starters between them.

  • Actually, it might have been the high-water mark for non-AQ teams in general. Gary Patterson's TCU seems as bulletproof as programs come these days, but having just four starters back on either side of the ball (placing them 119th on the chart, one spot ahead of Auburn) will be quite the challenge all the same.

  • You should go ahead and steel yourself against the Notre Dame hype flood now; the Irish ended the season on a four-game win streak, you'll recall, and have eight starters back on both offense and defense including surprise draft dodger Michael Floyd (pictured). 

  • Likewise, the offseason storyline for the ACC is already written: Florida State, with 18 starters back, will be expected to wrest the league overlord role away from Virginia Tech, with just 13.

Posted on: January 5, 2011 1:38 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2011 1:39 pm
 

So who is the next head coach at Michigan?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Now that the news is official, and Rich Rodriguez has been fired at Michigan, the process of finding a replacement is underway in Ann Arbor.  If we're to take Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon's words at his press conference on Wednesday to heart, it doesn't sound like a replacement will be announced quickly.  In fact, Brandon made it sound like he hasn't even begun the process yet, which, if true, doesn't bode well for Michigan in 2011.

Still, if he hasn't begun the search yet, here are a few names that will likely be hearing from Michigan in the coming days.

Jim Harbaugh - Actually, from what Brandon said, I'm pretty sure Harbaugh has already heard from Michigan.  Brandon may say he hasn't begun the process but reading between the lines, it sounds like Michigan has contacted Harbaugh and that Harbaugh has told the school he's not interested.  Which is why Brandon didn't seem to have any problems addressing Harbaugh-related questions and even say that he feels Harbaugh is headed to the NFL.  Still, until an official announcement is made by Harbaugh, a portion of the Michigan faithful will hold out hope.

Brady Hoke - Hoke's name has come up as a possible replacement, and he's made it known that Michigan is his dream job and he'd have no problem leaving San Diego State for the job.  Still, even though Hoke has been successful at Ball State and with the Aztecs, I don't think that's enough to make him Michigan's top choice.  Odds are the school will take a stab at some bigger names with Hoke as a backup plan.

Les Miles - Before Michigan hired Rodriguez, rumor was that Miles was one of the school's top choices to replace Lloyd Carr.  Miles stayed at LSU, but it's possible that Michigan could make a run at their former offensive lineman once more.  The question is whether or not Miles would want to leave his nice contract at LSU to take the job, or whether Michigan would be comfortable bringing him home.

Chris Petersen - Any athletic director at a BCS conference school who is looking for a head coach that doesn't call Boise State's Petersen isn't doing his job.  Petersen's done a remarkable job at Boise State, helping keep a tiny commuter school in Idaho a power on the national scene.  If he could do that at Boise State, imagine what he might be able to do with the resources available to him at Michigan.

Gary Patterson - During his press conference, Dave Brandon pointed out that whoever he brings in to replace Rodriguez, an emphasis will be placed on defense.  That doesn't necessarily mean it'll be a defensive-minded head coach, but if Brandon wants a strong defense at Michigan, he could do a lot worse than TCU's Patterson.  The question here is whether or not Patterson would want to make the transition north, or if he has a need to.  After all, TCU will be joining the Big East in 2012, so if Patterson wants to coach in a BCS conference, he no longer has to leave the school.

Mike Leach - I don't think Brandon has any interest in Mike Leach, but I'll bet Leach has interest in Michigan.  Hell, he has interest in every school.

Kyle Whittingham - Whittingham hasn't had any trouble maintaining what Urban Meyer started at Utah, and could bring that success to Ann Arbor.  Of course, considering that Whittingham has been at Utah for 16 years, it doesn't seem as though he's in a hurry to leave the place.  Plus, like Gary Patterson, he's now running a program that is bound for a BCS conference, so the motivation to leave isn't as strong as it may have been.

Urban Meyer - Speaking of Meyer, how about Urban Meyer?  Do I think this would happen?  No, I believe Meyer was serious when saying he wants some time off.  Still, you know it's only a matter of time before somebody throws his name out there, so I may as well.
Posted on: January 1, 2011 8:48 pm
 

Bowl Grades: Rose Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

TCU says "Hello, BCS!" and beats Wisconsin 21-19 in the Rose Bowl to finish season 13-0

TCU


Offense: It wasn't a great game by the TCU offense in this one, as while the Horned Frogs came out blazing in the first quarter and scored touchdowns on their first two drives, they only managed 7 points over the final 45 minutes.  Still, the Frogs got as many points as they needed, and didn't turn the ball over, using field position to their advantage throughout the second half.

Andy Dalton was on fire out of the gate, but TCU then got a bit pass-happy in the second half and his performance fell off a bit.  He did finish the game with 247 total yards and two touchdowns, running the offense efficiently enough to win the offensive MVP of the game.  That being said, had TCU been a bit more productive with the ball late, it wouldn't have had to sweat so much at the end.  Grade:B

Defense: His name is Tank Carder, and this game wasn't as much the Rose Bowl as it was the Tank Carder Show.  Carder was everywhere on the field for the TCU defense.  Knocking Scott Tolzien to the ground repeatedly, swallowing runners in the backfield, and knocking down passes at the line of scrimmage.  If you didn't know Carder's name before this game, you do now.

The only problem for TCU was its interior run defense.  While it was able to utilize its speed every time Wisconsin tried to stretch runs outside, the defensive line was getting manhandled up the middle quite a bit.  Still, considering how impressive Wisconsin's offense was over the final month of the season, holding the Badgers to 19 points is nothing to be ashamed of.  Grade: B+

Coaching: The only complaint I have about the job Gary Patterson and the TCU coaching staff did in this game was abandoning a game plan that was working so well at the start.  Andy Dalton was having successful early throwing the ball and running out of the read option, but for some reason TCU ditched this attack after the first quarter.  Instead Dalton just kept dropping back to pass, and things got a bit too predictable.  Grade: B

Wisconsin


Offense: Just looking at the statistics and not the scoreboard, you'd think Wisconsin won this game.  The Badgers rushed for nearly five yards a carry, converted nearly half of its third downs, both of its fourth down attempts and didn't turn the ball over a single time.  So what went wrong?  Well, once the Badgers got to the red zone things seemed to stall and the team had to settle for field goal attempts, one of which they missed.

Which was a big miss given the final score.

The big problem on offense was that Wisconsin just wasn't very efficient throwing the ball.  The Badgers have never been a passing team, but they've utilized play-action all season to pick up big chunks of yards and move the ball down the field.  Tolzien couldn't do this against TCU on Saturday, and it cost Wisconsin points in the end.  Grade:C+

Defense: Aside from the first quarter, Wisconsin's defense played pretty well.  It's just Wisconsin had trouble getting off the field on third down, which lengthened TCU drives and took more gas out of the tank as the game wore on.  The Badgers did a good job stopping the run and made life difficult for Dalton at times, but in the end, the Badgers defense had to make a play, and they simply didn't.

A turnover or two would have gone a long way in this game.  Grade:B

Coaching: Why did Wisconsin lose this game despite the stats? Coaching decisions.  Now, I loved Bret Bielema calling a fake punt deep in his own territory in the first half, but other than that, he left me scratching my head quite a bit.  There was the questionable clock management at the end of the first half that forced Wisconsin to settle for a field goal, as it seems Bielema thought unused timeouts carried over to the second half.  The biggest gaffe, however, came at the end of the game.  On Wisconsin's final drive the Badgers ran the ball right down TCU's throat with John Clay and Montee Ball.  After finally punching the ball into the end zone, the Badgers had to go for two, so what did Wisconsin do?  They spread it out with four receivers and decided to throw.  A Tank Carder fly swat later and TCU was Rose Bowl champions.  Grade:F

Final Grade


The first quarter gave me the feeling that this was going to be an epic Rose Bowl, one that would go down in history.  Things didn't quite play out that way, but it was still a very interesting game up until the last few minutes.  It was a huge win for TCU, and one I thoroughly enjoyed watching.  With or without the questionable decisions at the end.  Grade: A-
Posted on: November 29, 2010 10:08 am
Edited on: November 29, 2010 10:18 am
 

Report: TCU accepts offer from Big East

Posted by Chip Patterson

After another release of the BCS standings moved us one step closer to an Oregon-Auburn national championship, TCU reportedly sealed the deal to make the jump to a BCS conference.  Brett McMurphy of AOL Fanhouse is reporting Monday that TCU has accepted an invitation to become an all-sports member of the Big East Conference.

TCU will join the league on July 1, 2012, and begin conference play in their new conference for the 2012-2013 school year.

For the Big East, the move comes just in time.  The current four-year evaluation period for the BCS ends in December 2011. While the Big East has not produced the contenders to warrant their AQ status in recent years, TCU's arrival will strengthen their prominence on paper significantly.  When the BCS heads get to crunching numbers, the Big East will get to report TCU's accomplishments (including their three Top 11 BCS finishes) along with the rest of the conference.  

For TCU, it is a perennial chance to arrive unaided in a BCS Bowl.  Not only does the Big East control an automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl, but playing a full conference schedule against BCS AQ opponents should create a boost in the Horned Frogs' strength of schedule.  Many will argue that the current state of the Big East would not provide much of a boost, but the Horned Frogs will take their chances now with an automatic bid.  TCU also gets a huge boost by getting to add their other sports to an already massive conference in the Olympic sports.  While no one is expecting TCU to make an immediate play for the Big East basketball title, but playing in a league that garners so much more national attention will help raise the status of all of the Horned Frogs' sports teams.  

Posted on: November 23, 2010 12:39 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2010 12:40 pm
 

Robinson Coach of the Year finalists announced

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The eight announced finalists for the 2010 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award (as given out by the Football Writers Association of America) didn't offer much in the way of surprise; six of the nominees come from the current top seven teams in the BCS standings and all eight coach for teams in the BCS top ten. They are, from highest-ranked to lowest:

Chip Kelly, Oregon
Gene Chizik, Auburn
Gary Patterson, TCU
Chris Peterson, Boise State
Jim Harbaugh, Stanford
Bret Bielema, Wisconsin
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State

A victory over Alabama (and the lack of further allegations against Cam Newton ) would probably make Chizik the front-runner by a nose over Kelly, since his team entered this season with lower expectations and a far worse record in 2009. But Kelly's mastery of his light-speed spread-option offense and dominating season would make him a fine choice, as would any of the finalists. The FWAA can't go wrong.

If there's anything to complain about here, it's that all eight choices follow the "good or great team becomes or stays great" model. But there's something to be said about taking a mediocre or even bad program to (or back to) respectability. Here's three coaches who also deserve some recognition for their work in 2010:

Mario Cristobal, FIU. It's easy to forget just how miserable the Golden Panthers' program was when Cristobal arrived in 2007, with FIIU fresh off an 0-12 season, the infamous Orange Bowl brawl with Miami , and NCAA sanctions. Three seasons later FIU, picked to finish eighth in their conference, will win the Sun Belt and play in their first-ever bowl game if they can hold serve at home against Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee State to end the season.

Ralph Friedgen, Maryland . The only reason the Fridge is even still employed by the Terps is because the school couldn't afford his buyout at the end of 2009, and it was no surprise when Friedgen's team was pegged for dead last in the ACC Atlantic this offseason. Instead of tuning out their supposedly lame-duck coach, though, the Terps have surged back to a 7-4 season with a big win vs. rivals Navy and road victories at Virginia and bowl-bound Boston College , putting them in contention for the division title as recently as last week.

Mike Haywood, Miami (Ohio) . It's hard to believe that the 7-4 Redhawks could win the MAC East when you consider how supremely hopeless they were in 2009, when they failed to score a single point until their third game and finished 1-11. In the MAC. But Miami served notice in a valiant season-opening effort against Florida that Haywood had made the absolute most of the offseason, and if they can claim an eighth win they'll have their most victories since 2004.


Posted on: November 17, 2010 3:07 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2010 3:08 pm
 

Coaches hit the BCS campaign trail

Posted by Tom Fornelli

You may have thought you were finally in the clear.  After weeks of being bombarded by campaign advertisements on your television, the elections have finally happened and you can now get back to your normal diet of beer commercials and erectile dysfunction ads.  Still, just because the campaigning may be over on your television, the country's true campaign is just getting started, one that is far more important than who do you want to send to Washington.

No, this one is about who you want to send to Arizona to play for the BCS title.

Coaches have hit the campaign trail in full force, including LSU head coach Les Miles.  The Mad Hatter has talked his team's way into a BCS title game before, so he figures he may as well give it another shot, once again explaining to the world that the SEC is just harder than any other conference to play in.

"I only know this about this conference," Miles said. "The highest ranked team to come out of this conference should well have an opportunity to play in the national championship game."

As of now, that team would be Auburn, and unless its wins are vacated, Auburn controls its own destiny. Beat Alabama and South Carolina, and nothing will keep them from playing for the national title.  But what if Auburn loses one, or even both of those games?  You know who would likely be the highest rated team in the SEC then?

That's right, LSU.

Still, this isn't a tactic solely being utilized by the boys in the big time conference.  No, TCU head coach Gary Patterson is on the trail as well. Patterson will be at ESPN headquarters on Friday to run the gamut of the network's eleventy billion media outlets to make sure that the world understands that TCU deserves to play for a title if it's undefeated.

"You won't see me beat my chest," Patterson told the Dallas Morning News. "I'll state the case of what TCU has to offer; the culmination of what we've done the last six years. Sometimes that gets lost.

"I think Boise and TCU both have proven over the last five years that no matter what conference you play in, we can play at a high level."

You can tell that Patterson is new to all this, because a seasoned vet would realize you don't say flattering things about your competition during a campaign.  The only time he should be mentioning Boise State is when he's alleging that Kellen Moore is on the take.

Posted on: November 10, 2010 11:58 am
 

Brady Hoke now a candidate for Minnesota job

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ever since Minnesota fired Tim Brewster, the school's head has been in the clouds when considering who to hire to replace him.  Names like Chris Petersen, Gary Patterson, Jim Harbaugh, and somebody at the school has probably wondered about Bear Bryant too.  The thing that all these coaches have in common -- well, not the late, great Mr. Bryant -- is that if they were to leave their current jobs to take over at Minnesota, they'd be taking a step backward.   Which Minnesota just doesn't seem to get.

Which is why I was somewhat relieved to see the latest name to come up in the Gophers coaching search, because this one actually seems sensible. According to a report in the Pioneer Press, Brady Hoke of San Diego State is now on the list of "serious" coaching candidates.   Which just makes sense, so kudos to you, Minnesota.

Hoke has experience in the Big Ten, spending eight years at Michigan as a defensive coach and is from Ohio.  He also led Ball State to a 12-1 mark in 2008 before moving on to San Diego State.  Now, in his second season there, Hoke has the Aztecs at 7-2 with a chance at a Mountain West title if they can pull off the upset of TCU this weekend.

In other words, he's a coach that has had to work his way up the ladder, and had success everywhere he's been.  You don't think he'd be interested in coming back to the Big Ten -- most certainly a step forward for him -- and taking over the Minnesota job?  The most important thing for Minnesota to consider, though, is that it's not the the only school who has likely taken notice of Hoke.  Colorado has an opening right now, too, and it's likely going to turn its attention to Hoke soon as well.
Posted on: November 4, 2010 2:26 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:06 pm
 

Fulmer not interested in Minnesota job

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Since firing Tim Brewster , just about every college football coach who has experienced any kind of success in the last 20 years running a program has had his name pop up as a possible candidate to take the head coaching job at Minnesota .  Names like Mike Leach , Tony Dungy , Chris Petersen , Gary Patterson and even Lou Holtz have been tossed out as candidates.  All coaches who probably wouldn't leave their current gigs for the Gophers without a gun pointed to their heads.

Another coach who had been named, and is actually out of work and looking to get back in the game, is former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer .  Fulmer would be a much more viable candidate than somebody like Petersen or Patterson, but there's one small problem for Minnesota.  According to a radio report, he doesn't want the job.

Jimmy Hyams , a radio host at Knoxville's WNML-AM/FM, said on his show Thursday that he contacted Fulmer about his interest in the Minnesota job and that Fulmer said it "was not a good fit" for him.  Which isn't all that surprising.  Odds are that at the age of 60, if Fulmer wants to get back in to coaching he's going to want to do so at a program that won't provide such a sizable challenge as Minnesota does.

The Gophers aren't built to compete in the Big Ten right now, and it would take years before any coach was able to get the program on par with schools like Ohio State , Wisconsin , Iowa , Nebraska and even Michigan .
 
 
 
 
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