Tag:Tom Fornelli
Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:04 pm
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PODCAST: Free Bruce Podcast w/Brett McMurphy

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Bruce Feldman and Bryan Fischer are back for the latest edition of the Free Bruce Podcast, and this week Bruce discusses the upcoming NFL Draft and his time in Indianapolis at the NFL scouting combine. They also cover which unheralded players may surprise people at the next level, as well as the differences in evaluating players at the NFL level and as high school recruits.

Then Brett "Sources" McMurphy joins the guys to talk about the latest in conference realigment, possible changes to the BCS and whether or not we can say goodbye to the 6-6 bowl teams of yore.

To listen, click below, pop the podcast player out in a new window, or download the mp3. And remember that all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store. Enjoy:



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Posted on: February 29, 2012 11:01 am
 

The biggest shoes to fill in college football



Posted by Tom Fornelli


With teams having already started or starting spring practice over the next few weeks. there are a lot of players across the country who will be charged with replacing someone who has come and gone before them. It's an annual rite of spring in college football, when the senior quarterback from last season is putting the finishing touches on his final semester as a college student, and the sophomore who isn't even sure what he's majoring in yet realizes he's going to be majoring in Playbook 101 for the next few weeks.

Of course, while roster turnover is a common occurence in college football, there are bigger shoes to fill than others, and in this post we take a look at the ten biggest pairs looking for a new owner this spring.

10. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

Ryan Broyles began re-writing the Oklahoma record books the moment he stepped on the field in his first game as a Sooner. He caught 7 passes for 141 yards against Cincinnati, both of which were freshman records. Four years later he finished his career having caught more passes than any other receiver in FBS history, pulling in 349 passes for 4,586 yards and 45 touchdowns.

In other words, he's not the type of player that Oklahoma can just replace with anybody. This spring receivers like Kenny Stills, Jaz Reynolds and Trey Metoyer will try to replicate Broyles' production in Norman. Whether it will be one of them doing it, or a group effort, Oklahoma will need it to happen if the Sooners want to win the Big 12 and contend for a national title.

9. Matt Kalil, OT, USC

Understandably, USC fans were extremely excited by the news that Matt Barkley would be returning for his senior season, and many have pegged the Trojans as a title favorite because of it. What you don't want to do, however, is overlook the fact that the man who was in charge of protecting Barkley's blindside these last few years won't be back.

Though that's how life generally works for offensive lineman like Matt Kalil. As large as they are, they're often overlooked. Kevin Graf, Jeremy Galten, David Garness and Nathan Guertler will all be competing for the unenviable task of being the man in charge of making sure nothing happens to the most valuable piece of the USC offense.

8. Mark Barron, S, Alabama

One of the problems with having a defense as strong as the one we saw in Tuscaloosa last season is that you're bound to lose players to the next level, and the Crimson Tide have no shortage of beasts making their way to greener pastures. Still, the Tide have a knack for churning out defensive lineman and linebackers, but safeties like Mark Barron don't come along all that often.

Barron made 231 tackles for Nick Saban in his four seasons, including 13 for a loss, while picking off 12 passes. Barron was the type of player that could defend the pass and the run, and he won't be easily replaced. Can Robert Lester or freshman Vinnie Sunseri step up and be the next stud in the Alabama secondary?

7. Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Based purely on production, there may be no larger shoes to fill in the country than Luke Kuechly's. There may not have been more than 3 plays run by opposing offenses in which Kuechly wasn't in on the tackle. Kuechly finished 2011 with 191 tackles. The next highest total on the Boston College defense belonged to Kevin Pierre-Louis, who had 74.

As our own Chip Patterson put it, "for Boston College, replacing Kuechly is like any other team replacing 2 1/2 players." Though it's been proven that it can be done, as Kuechly himself once had to fill the shoes left behind by Mark Herzlich. Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto -- who has a name that would be hard to replace -- will be the two linebackers looking to repeat the feat.

6. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

Many casual college football fans never truly appreciated how amazing a player Morris Claiborne was for LSU in 2011 simply because opposing offenses weren't dumb enough to test him all that often. Throw in some Honey Badger exploits with a bit of Les Miles being Les Miles, and Claiborne gets a bit lost in the gumbo. Still, Claiborne truly was the definition of a shutdown corner for LSU, playing a pivotal role on one of the best defenses in the country.

While Tyrann Mathieu will be back in 2012, he's not the cover corner that Claiborne was, so it will be up to Tharold Simon to fill the role. One he seems capable of considering he led LSU with 10 passes broken up in 2011 playing mostly as a nickel back.

5. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

I won't lie to you. Even when Mark Ingram will still in Tuscaloosa running through SEC defenses, I always felt that Trent Richardson was the best running back on the Alabama roster. Now both are gone, and Richardson will be harder to replace than Ingram was simply because Trent can't replace himself.

Can Eddie Lacy be the next Heisman finalist in the Alabama backfield? He showed some promise in 2011, and in an offense like Alabama's, the opportunities will be there. Still, even if Lacy is extremely talented, there are only so many shoes capable of doing this.

4. Brandon Weeden/Justin Blackmon, QB/WR, Oklahoma State

A bit of a cheat, I know, but the truth is that Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon felt like extensions of one another for the past two seasons in Stillwater. Their success was as a duo. I mean, Blackmon caught 40 touchdowns over the last three seasons, which accounted for 53% of the 75 touchdown passes Weeden threw with the Cowboys.

Now we know that Oklahoma State is going to continue putting points on the board without them, but will the offense ever be as prolific when the combination is Clint Chelf or Wes Lunt to Tracy Moore? We'll get our first clues this spring.

3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon

Maybe you think that LaMichael James isn't all that hard to replace given the weapons Oregon has in the backfield. I can see your point, but I can also point out that James nearly doubled Kenjon Barner's rushing total (1,805 yards to 939) in 2011. I mean, this is a man who rushed for 1,805 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging 7.3 yards per carry in 2011, yet we didn't think it was so amazing based simply on the fact we'd already seen him do similar things in the previous two seasons.

We just got used to it.

Yes, Barner and DeAnthony Thomas are extremely talented backs, but the fact is there's no easy way to replace a back who accounted for 5,888 all-purpose yards and 58 touchdowns in three seasons as a Duck, all at the speed of light.

2. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Will it be harder to fill RG3's shoes, or his socks? Neither will be easy. While we all know how talented Griffin was as a quarterback for Baylor in 2011 and the two seasons before it, it's his impact on the program that will leave the biggest impression. Baylor went from a perennial bottom-feeder in the Big 12 to a team that can call itself the home of a Heisman Trophy winner.

Nick Florence will be the favorite to replace Griffin this spring, but he'll never be able to have the impact on the Baylor program that Griffin did. Instead he'd be much better served to focus on replacing the production on the field. Something that won't be easy, either, but given Art Briles' history with quarterbacks and the way Florence performed in place of Griffin against Texas Tech, it may not be that far-fetched, either.

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Andrew Luck didn't win the Heisman Trophy like Robert Griffin did, but that doesn't diminish the impact he had on the Stanford program. In the three seasons before Luck showed up in Palo Alto, Stanford was 10-26, including a 1-11 season in 2006. In Luck's three seasons the Cardinal went 31-8, played in two BCS bowl games and became a national program.

Stanford is essentially the school Notre Dame used to be, and it's all thanks to Luck. Of course, the question now is whether or not Stanford can maintain the success they had under Luck with a new quarterback. Brett Nottingham, Josh Nunes and Robbie Picazo will all enter spring practice looking to replace the most important player in the history of Stanford football, and that's a list that includes John Elway.

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Posted on: February 27, 2012 5:51 pm
 

Iowa hires Greg Davis as offensive coordinator

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While the decision had been hinted at and rumored for over a week, Iowa officially announced on Monday that it had hired Greg Davis to be Kirk Ferentz's new offensive coordinator.

"We are thrilled to have Greg Davis join our staff" said Ferentz in a statement. "Greg has enjoyed great success during his career and I believe that can be attributed directly to the combination of his football expertise and teaching skills.

"Greg's units have demonstrated impressive production and they have done so using a variety of systems and styles - he has done an outstanding job of playing towards the strengths and abilities of the players with which he has worked."

Davis took the 2011 season off, but was last seen coaching at Texas where he'd been offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for 13 seasons before being replaced by Bryan Harsin last year following a 5-7 campaign in 2010. While at Texas Davis helped put together a national championship winning team in 2005 and played a pivotal role in the development of quarterbacks like Vince Young, Colt McCoy and Chris Simms.

He will be only the second offensive coordinator at Iowa since Kirk Ferentz took over the program in 1999. Davis replaces Ken O'Keefe who left Iowa to take a job with the Miami Dolphins earlier this month.

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Posted on: February 27, 2012 5:08 pm
 

PODCAST: The Doddcast - Feb. 27

Posted by Tom Fornelli

A college football playoff seems to be coming, and Dennis Dodd joins Adam Aizer on the latest episode of The Doddcast to discuss all the possibilities of such a change. While it's apparent there will be no more than four teams involved, what will the format be? Home games? Neutral sites?

Space? I'm hoping for space.

Dennis also talks about the latest at Oregon, and the fact that Texas A&M is actually adding female cheerleaders to the sideline. The Women's Rights Movement has finally paid off.

To listen, click below, pop the podcast player out in a new window, or download the mp3. And remember that all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store. Enjoy:



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Posted on: February 27, 2012 12:18 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 12:18 pm
 

Kentucky LB Ridge Wilson arrested and suspended

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Kentucky linebacker Ridge Wilson was arrested over the weekend in Louisville and charged with trafficking in a controlled substance. A charge that is considered a felony.

Wilson was parked in his car with the lights off when a policeman approached his vehicle to see what Wilson was doing. Inside the car he found a pair of jeans in the back seat with a bag of Xanax in the pocket. Police also found $1,947 in the pants Wilson was wearing.

Police also said that Wilson kept mentioning to them that he was a football player at Kentucky, and seemed nervous the entire time.

Wilson has been suspended by Kentucky following the arrest, though when asked about the suspension, spokesperson Tom Neely would only say that Wilson "broke team rules."

Wilson, who will be a senior in the 2012 season, had 47 tackles in 9 games for Kentucky last season, including 3 for a loss and 2 sacks.

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 3:56 pm
 

Larry Scott talks postseason changes

Posted by Tom Fornelli

With every passing day it seems that the idea of college football adopting a playoff system comes closer and closer to reality. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and former SEC commissioner -- and founder of the BCS -- Roy Kramer have both spoken publicly about the idea in recent weeks, and now the Pac-12's Larry Scott sounds as though he's in favor of a change as well.

Larry Scott talked of his preferences for college football's postseason with the New York Times.

Scott told the paper that while he isn't focusing solely on devising a system to determine a champion, he is thinking about changes to the entire bowl system, conference championships and even rankings.

"The more I think about it, the more opportunity for improvement I see," Scott told the paper.

Scott also said that he agreed with the Big Ten's proposed model of playing semi-final games on the campuses of the schools involved while playing the championship game itself at a neutral location. Scott also supports the idea that only conference champions should be eligible for playing in any sort of playoff format.

“So much of the passion of a move to a playoff is to see it earned on the field,” Scott said. “What more clear way to have intellectual consistency with the idea of a playoff than to earn it as a conference champion? It would de-emphasize the highly subjective polls that are based on a coach and media voting and a few computers.”

Thoughts that echoed the ones Roy Kramer told CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd last week.

"It makes the conference championship games bigger," Kramer told CBSSports.com. "It makes the regular season bigger."

An idea that likely must be heeded in order to satisfy both those that prefer a more concrete method of determining a champion, such as a playoff, and those who want to make sure college football's regular season doesn't lose its significance.

Now, while nobody can be sure exactly when or if a playoff will be instituted -- no matter the model chosen for one -- it is readily apparent that it will be coming at some point in the near future. An actuality that seemed impossible not too long ago.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 3:21 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 4:56 pm
 

Muschamp gets one year contract extension

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Will Muschamp's first season at Florida wasn't as good as Gators fans had become accustomed to under Urban Meyer, but the Gators did finish the season with a 7-6 mark and a victory over Ohio State in the Gator Bowl. It may not have been a great season, but apparently the school saw enough to warrant giving Muschamp an extension on his contract.

The Sporting News originally reported the extension, and the school has since confirmed that it has tacked on an additional year to the five-year deal he signed last year. The sixth year doesn't include a raise on the $2.75 million salary Muschamp agreed to in his original deal, but it does mean he's going to be in Gainesville through the 2016 season.

“We’re building something long-term here,” Muschamp told The Sporting News. “We have an incredible amount of support from our administration. On a scale of 1-10, we’re an 11 right now as far as excitement about where we’re headed.” 

Maybe now that Muschamp has the added year of security with the Gators he'll ponder buying Urban Meyer's old house. It's on the market and comes Florida-loaded.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:59 am
 

Are these the new Mizzou uniforms?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Simply moving to the SEC isn't enough for Missouri football. Much like when you get a new job, or you're going on a date with a new beau, you find some new clothes to wear. And that's exactly what Missouri seems to be doing.

The school plans on debuting some new jerseys on April 14th, but before it does anything official, it's teasing the fan base a bit. Missouri posted a video of former Missouri wide receiver and current Philadelphia Eagle Jeremy Maclin getting a look at the new jerseys. Well, one Mizzou fan went through the video frame by frame and took as many screengrabs as he could to try and piece things together.

Judging by one of the photos -- a photo that is intentionally left blurry by the school -- it seems that yellow jerseys are definitely in play for the Tigers next season, as well as a new helmet.





If all that isn't enough, how about some tiger stripes?



Again, while there's nothing here that gives a definitive look at what the jerseys are going to look like, if you look at all the different photos available in the video, you can get a pretty good idea of what Missouri will be wearing during its first season in the SEC.

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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