Tag:Non-BCS
Posted on: January 19, 2012 11:20 am
Edited on: January 19, 2012 11:26 am
 

PHOTO: Southern Miss enters Miss. billboard wars

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Southern Miss has no doubt always felt a little overlooked when it comes to Mississippi college football, what with the state's two SEC schools taking up so much airspace even when -- as was the case this year -- it's the Golden Eagles winning conference titles and Rebels and Bulldogs combining to win one league game* that wasn't at the expense of the other.

So on the one hand, getting involved in the ongoing billboard wars between Ole Miss and Mississippi State isn't going to accomplish anything tangible other than adding to the USM budget. But on the other: the warm-and-fuzzy intangible benefits of wedging your way into said wars for some entirely deserved crowing? Those are well worth however much this cost:

Ole Miss and Mississippi State fans will no doubt say they could care less what the Golden Eagles are bothering to put up (whether they do or not), but it's hard to imagine a Southern Miss fan looking up at that and not smiling from ear-to-ear ... which is why Eye on CFB is hoping the state's billboard wars drag on for, oh, about as long as your average Middle Ages England-France conflict.

*Against Kentucky, no less. HT: SBNation.

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:07 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 11:17 pm
 

ISU DB coach Elliott to take Notre Dame ass't job

Posted by Adam Jacobi

On January 2, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly (seen at right) announced a litany of job status updates in his coaching staff, including a promotion for cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks to co-defensive coordinator alongside Bob Diaco, who has also assumed the role of assistant head coach for the Fighting Irish. Chuck Martin was also moved from safeties coach to offensive coordinator. With that, then, Diaco now has three responsibilities and Cooks has two, and there's a hole at safeties coach, so the Notre Dame staff would appear ready for some help with position coaching. Now, Notre Dame has found just the man for the job.

Tom Dienhart reported on Tuesday night that Bobby Elliott, the secondary coach at Iowa State, would be taking an assistant role at Notre Dame, and CBSSports.com can confirm that report, per a source close to the situation. Iowa State defensive back Deon Broomfield also tweeted that Elliott informed the team that he would be leaving. Elliott's role with Notre Dame is likely to be involved with the safeties, as the secondary has been the main focus of his positional work over the course of his career, but the exact job title and responsibilities that he will accept with Notre Dame have yet to be confirmed.

There shouldn't be much time spent acclimating Elliott with Cooks and Diaco, Elliott's superiors on the defensive staff; he coached them both at Iowa during his 12 years as a defensive assistant under Hayden Fry. Diaco was an All-Big Ten linebacker with the Hawkeyes and graduated in 1995, while Cooks was a standout strong safety through the '99 season.

Elliott, 58, had actually been a strong candidate to assume the Iowa head coaching position from Hayden Fry as Fry's career wound down in the late '90s; he was young, experienced, and had extensive ties to the program (all factors that eventually led to Kirk Ferentz's hiring). A life-threatening blood disorder was discovered late in the 1998 season and forced Elliott out of coaching, however, and he didn't come back to the sidelines until a two-year stint with Dan McCarney and Iowa State in 2000-01.

From there, Elliott was the defensive coordinator for Kansas State for four years, then he was DC in Chuck Long's hapless regime at San Diego State for three years after that. Elliott rejoined ISU in 2010 after another year outside the coaching ranks, and his secondary was best known this season for neutralizing the Oklahoma State passing attack in the thrilling 30-24 overtime victory at Jack Trice Stadium that ended the Cowboys' national championship dreams.

Elliott is the second Iowa State assistant coach to leave during the offseason; former offensive coordinator Tom Herman joined the Ohio State staff as the Buckeyes' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach following the Pinstripe Bowl.

Notre Dame is expected to announce Elliott's hiring by the end of the week.

For more Fighting Irish updates, subscribe to the CBSSports.com Notre Dame RapidReports by Mark Bradford.

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:30 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 6:33 pm
 

Wisconsin's new OC: Northern Ill. OC Matt Canada

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Wisconsin continues to shore up its coaching losses from the departure of Paul Chryst to Pittsburgh and various other hirings, and on Tuesday the Badgers announced that Northern Illinois offensive coordinator Matt Canada had agreed to become Wisconsin's offensive coordinator.

"Matt has a terrific history as an offensive coordinator and has excelled at developing quarterbacks throughout his career," Bielema said in a statement. "I know he is very excited about running a pro-style offense and handling a game the way we typically have at Wisconsin. I think this is a great hire for us and I can't wait for him to get to work with our coaches and players." 

Canada was only one year into his second stint as NIU's offensive coordinator; he had been rising through the ranks at Indiana from 2004-2010, starting as quarterbacks coach and finishing as offensive coordinator, before Kevin Wilson came to Bloomington and cleaned house. Canada coached Kellen Lewis and Ben Chappell at quarterback for the Hoosiers, and both were highly productive in their times under center: Lewis was a first-team All-Big Ten QB before his career derailed, and Chappell holds Indiana single-season records in every major passing category.

Fortunately for Northern Illinois, Canada was able to put together a dynamite offense in his first year back, as the Huskies went 11-3, won the MAC Championship, won the GoDaddy.com Bowl 38-20 over Arkansas State, and scored over 42 points per game in the process. NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish was named the MAC offensive MVP in 2011, and his numbers backed it up: he threw for 2,942 yards, 26 TDs, and only five interceptions on 219-348 passing (good enough for the 15th-best passing efficiency in the nation), and he rushed for 1,382 yards and 11 TDs on 185 carries (leading all FBS quarterbacks) to back it up.

That kind of overall quarterback production doesn't come out of a pro-style offense, of course (but don't start hyperventilating just yet, Badger fans). Check out this video of the different ways Harnish used his quarterback, and how many different formations NIU used in the process. There's even a John Moxon Oop-De-Oop formation in there.



That's some serious offensive creativity, and completely outside the bounds of how Wisconsin has made hay for the last 15+ years as a rushing powerhouse. But fear not: as Bielema mentioned in his statement, Wisconsin will stay with a pro-style offense. Bielema's no fool. Really, he's not.

It'll be interesting to see, then, what details of Canada's style of offense survives the assimilation into the Bucky Borg. Surely Bielema wouldn't have hired an offensive coordinator he's coached against in eight games in one way or another (twice when Canada was at NIU, six times with him at Indiana) if he wasn't interested in that coach's offensive acumen in some significant respect. Until we find out what that entails, though, opposing defensive coordinators may feel free to peruse the offensive performances of Canada offenses, and if the color starts draining from the DCs' faces in the process, well, that's to be expected.

For more up-to-the-minute Badger news, subscribe to CBSSports.com's Wisconsin RapidReports by Tammy Madsen.

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 1:53 pm
 

Report: Ex-Mizzou QB Tyler Gabbert to UCF

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

After a handful of false starts, former Missouri quarterback Tyler Gabbert has reportedly found his next FBS program.

Per the Orlando Sentinel, Gabbert is transferring to UCF and will join the Knights as a sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining. A native of Ballwin, Mo., Gabbert is currently taking classes at a St. Louis community college, the Sentinel reported.  

Gabbert began his college career in Columbia, following in his famous five-star brother Blaine Gabbert's oversized footsteps. A prized four-star recruit himself, Tyler redshirted during the 2010 season and was expected by many to take over for his brother come the 2011 campaign. But Gabbert lost out on the Tigers' starting job to James Franklin in spring practices and -- not wasting any time -- elected to transfer in May. He committed himself to Louisville in June (enough so that Charlie Strong issued a tweet welcoming him to the Cardinal program) only to ultimately choose not to enroll there, either.

His decision to finally land at UCF, though, may prove to be a win-win for both sides. The Knights are desperate for quarterbacking depth following the transfer of Jeff Godfreywith incumbent starter Blake Bortles the only scholarship quarterback currently on the UCF roster. At the very least, Gabbert should offer them a high-quality insurance policy in the event of an injury to Bortles.

As for what Gabbert gets out of the move to UCF, though impressive in his 10 appearances, Bortles is only a true sophomore himself and could conceivably cede the starting position -- or at least the occasional snap -- to a prospect of Gabbert's talents. Despite a lackluster 2011 season as Godfrey and Bortles played tug-of-war under center, the Knights still boast one of the deepest rosters in Conference USA and could give Gabbert an excellent chance at guiding a bowl-bound offense or even a league title-winning team if he can beat out Bortles.

That's a big "if," but on paper, it seems to be worth the gamble for both Gabbert and George O'Leary's recovering program.

Check out all the news here at Eye on CFB on the non-BCS conferences by clicking here.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 4:31 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 10:46 am
 

Maryland hires Houston DC Brian Stewart

Posted by Chip Patterson

Less than a week after announcing the "mutual" exit of Todd Bradford, Maryland has found the next defensive coordinator for Randy Edsall's staff.On Tuesday, the school announced the hiring of Houston defensive coordinator Brian Stewart..

"I'm very pleased to have Brian come on board," Edsall said in the official release. "He is a proven defensive coordinator at both the collegiate and professional level. All of his experience will help us move forward as we look for him to implement his aggressive style. He will also be a great addition to our recruiting efforts."

Stewart, 47, spent the last two seasons as Kevin Sumlin's defensive coordinator at Houston. The Cougars used a 3-4 scheme under Stewart, and were 18-8 in his time on staff. Stewart spent eight seasons as an assistant in the NFL, highlighted by a two-year stint as the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator in 2007-2008. He has primarily worked with defensive backs, the same position he played at Northern Arizona.

"I'm excited to join Randy's staff," Stewart said. "I admired what he did at UConn and saw the beginning of that transformation while I was at Syracuse. We've taken similar career paths as secondary coaches and then coordinators. It will be an exciting new challenge implementing our defense in the ACC, a very competitive league and one of the traditional BCS conferences."

Maryland ranked 74th nationally in passing defense (237.4 yards per game) and dead last in the ACC in total defense. The aggressive offseason plans to rebuild around head coach Randy Edsall have included changeovers at both coordinator positions. Mike Locksley was announced as the Terrapins offensive and recruiting coordinator in December, and now Stewart joins the staff with two weeks left until National Signing Day. Stewart's NFL experience will no doubt be a selling point for prospects as the Terps look to lock up a talented group of local prospects in the final days of recruiting.

For more information on the Maryland coaching changes, follow Terrapins RapidReports

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 12:02 pm
 

Toledo WR Eric Page entering 2012 NFL Draft

Posted by Chip Patterson

Toledo all-purpose wide receiver Eric Page has had a change of heart, and plans to enter the 2012 NFL Draft. After the Rockets' 42-41 victory over Air Force in the Military Bowl on Dec. 28, Page gave the impression that he would return for his senior season. After receiving more information on his potential draft position, the 2010 All-American return man has decided to forego his senior season and turn pro.

“It’s always been my dream to play in the NFL and I think right now is a great opportunity for me,” Page said. “This would have never been able to happen without my teammates, coaches and my family.”

CBSSports.com currently has Page listed as the sixth-best wide receiver in the 2013 class, but the junior informed the Toledo Free Press that his projection is between the third and fifth round in the 2012 NFL Draft. All-purpose threats like Page often can improve their draft stock in combines, using their speed and athleticism to wow NFL scouts.

Page leaves Toledo as the school's all-time leading receiver with 306 career receptions, tied for most in Mid-American Conference history with Jordan White (Western Michigan 2007-11). He earned All-American honors in 2010 as a returner and was a 2011 finalist for the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the most versatile player in college football. Page averaged over 172 all-purpose yards per game this season, finding the end zone 12 times in 13 games.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home

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Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:33 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 4:17 pm
 

2011-12 All-Bowl Team

J. Darin Darst

Another season gone and another SEC team has been declared BCS Champions.

And after 35 bowl games, it's time to look back and remember some of the great individual performances of the past month. Here are the best in this year's All-Bowl Team:

QB: Geno Smith, West Virginia (Orange): The junior had quite a homecoming in South Florida, setting three Orange Bowl records. He threw for a record 407 yards and accounted for seven total touchdowns (six passing, one rushing) in the Mountaineers' 70-33 thrashing of Clemson. Smith finished 32 of 43 passing, while also rushing for 26 yards on five carries.Geno Smith

RB: Terrance Ganaway, Baylor (Alamo): All the attention was on Robert Griffin, but the senior had quite a game. He rushed for 200 yards on 21 carries and scored five touchdowns -- all in the second half. He scored on runs of 89, 1, 1, 4 and 43 yards.

RB: Stepfan Taylor, Stanford (Fiesta): Another running back in the shadow of his quarterback, Taylor had a strong performance in the loss to Oklahoma State. In his best game of the season, the junior ran for 177 yards on 35 carries, while scoring two touchdowns (1 and 4 yards).

WR: Tavon Austin, West Virginia (Orange): Not to be overshadowed by teammate Smith, the junior receiver had his own amazing Orange Bowl. He set a bowl record with 280 all-purpose yards, including 117 receiving yards on 11 catches. He also recorded four receiving touchdowns. Austin, who was a member of the CBSSports.com All-America Team as an all-purpose player, also finished with a 23.4-yard average on five kickoff returns.

WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State (Fiesta): The junior playing in his final college game, went out with a bang. He had eight catches for 186 yards (23.3-yard average) and scored three touchdowns. Blackmon was a huge part of the Cowboys offense, scoring on catches of 43, 67 and 17 yards.

WR: Patrick Edwards, Houston (TicketCity): In an era of huge offenses, it's only fitting to have three receivers on this year's All-Bowl Team. The senior had one of his best games of the season, catching 10 passes for 228 yards with two touchdowns in the victory over Penn State. Edwards scored on passes of 40 and 75 yards.

TE: Ladarius Green, La.-Lafayette (New Orleans): The senior has had quite a career at Louisiana-Lafayette, but before bolting off to the NFL, Green helped the Rajin Cajuns win their first bowl game. He had five catches for 121 yards and scored on a 20-yard reception.

Offensive Line: Nate Potter (LT), Joe Kellogg (LG), Cory Yriarte (C), Chuck Hayes (RG), Charles Leno (RT), Boise State (Maaco): The offensive line not only blocked for Doug Martin, who ended up with 151 yards rushing, but didn't allow a sack in Kellen Moore's final game of his college career. Potter, Yriarte and Hayes go out with Moore as one of the most successful senior classes in history.

DL: Whitney Mercilus, Illinois (Fight Hunger): In his final college game, the junior recorded five tackles, including three for a loss and 1.5 sacks against UCLA. The Bruins were held to 18 yards rushing and Mercilus was a big reason for that.

DL: Cordarro Law, Southern Miss (Hawaii): The defensive MVP of the Hawaii Bowl led the Golden Eagles with seven tackles, 4.5 for a loss and recorded two sacks.

Courtney UpshawDL: Mike Martin, Michigan (Sugar): The senior had a strong performance, recording 10 tackles and 0.5 sacks in Michigan's victory over Virginia Tech. The defensive end helped limit the Hokies to just one touchdown.

DL: William Gholston, Michigan State (Outback): The sophomore had a great game against Georgia, recording seven solo tackles, including five for a loss, with two sacks and a fumble recovery.

LB: Kiko Alonso, Oregon (Rose): The junior recorded five tackles, including 2.5 for a loss with 1.5 sacks. But his biggest play of the game was when he intercepted Russell Wilson late in the third quarter, which set up Oregon's go-ahead touchdown. Alonso earned defensive MVP honors from the Rose Bowl for his outstanding play.

LB: Courtney Upshaw, Alabama (BCS championship): The defensive MVP of the BCS Championship game, Upshaw was the leader for the Crimson Tide, allowing LSU to cross the 50-yard line only once. Upshaw finished with seven tackles, including six solo with one sack.

LB: Khaseem Greene, Rutgers (Pinstripe): He led the Scarlet Knights defense with 13 tackles, including seven solo, to go along with three tackles for a loss and a forced fumble in the victory over Iowa State.

DB: David Amerson, N.C. State (Belk): The sophomore added two more interceptions to his total, giving him an ACC record 13 for the season. Amerson also returned one for a 65-yard touchdown and recorded five tackles in the victory over Louisville.

DB: Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt (Liberty): One of the best defensive backs in the SEC went out in style, recorded eight tackles with two interceptions while being named defensive MVP for the game.

DB: Dexter McCoil, Tulsa (Armed Forces): The junior had one of his best career games, recording 10 tackles and two interceptions against BYU. McCoil actually intercepted a third pass from quarterback Riley Nelson, but it was nullified after a Tulsa penalty.

DB: Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama (BCS championship): The leader of the Alabama secondary recorded four tackles, including two for a loss, while shutting down LSU's Rueben Randle in the BCS championship game.

Eric PageP: Paul Hershey, Ohio (Idaho Potato): The senior had six punts for 300 yards (50.0-yard average), including three inside the 20 (two inside the 10). With 4:23 remaining and Ohio down by a touchdown, Hershey nailed a 49-yarder down to the Utah State 7. That punt allowed Ohio to play the field position game, getting the ball back at their own 39 and scoring the game-winning score with seven seconds remaining.

K: Jeremy Shelley, Alabama (BCS championship): Shelley had quite a redemption game against LSU the second time around. The junior hit five field goals -- 23, 34, 41, 35 and 44 yards in the championship game to help Alabama build a 15-0 lead.

KR: Eric Page, Toledo (Military): One of the best kick return man in the nation, Page returned four kick returns for 153 yards (38.25 avg), including a 87-yard touchdown in the victory over Air Force.

PR: Joe Adams, Arkansas (Cotton): Adams did it again, returning his fourth punt this season for a touchdown, breaking a 51-yarder in the victory over Kansas State.

All-Purpose: De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon (Rose): The freshman had quite a game against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. He rushed for 155 yards on two carries, scoring both times. One of those runs was a 91-yard burst. Thomas also had 125 yards on four kickoff returns, to go along with 34 yards receiving on four catches.







Posted on: January 11, 2012 10:19 am
Edited on: January 11, 2012 10:24 am
 

Florida hires Boise State's Brent Pease as new OC

Posted by Chip Patterson

Florida head coach Will Muschamp was reportedly blindsided by the news that Charlie Weis was accepting the head coaching position at Kansas. On Wednesday, the Gators' head coach filled that opening on his staff with the hiring of Boise State's Brent Pease as offensive coordinator.

Pease, who will also coach the Florida quarterbacks, spent the previous six seasons on Chris Petersen's staff at Boise State. The 47-year-old assistant started his coaching career after a stint playing quarterback in the NFL, serving as an offensive coordinator at Montana, Northern Arizona, Kentucky, and Baylor before joining the Broncos' staff in 2006.

“I’m excited to join the University of Florida football family and The Gator Nation,” Pease said in an official release. “I’ve always had the utmost respect for Coach Muschamp and the UF program and I’m honored to have the opportunity to work at one of the premier institutions in the nation.

"I look forward to working with a tremendous coaching staff and, from what I hear, a great group of eager, young football players. Coach Muschamp and I share a lot of the same philosophies so this was a perfect fit. I want to be multiple in our offensive formations and have a balanced attack with tempo. I firmly believe in being fundamentally sound and red-zone efficient. I want to develop our players in a pro-style offense that can help them at the next level. ”

In his time at Boise State the Broncos posted a 73-6 record, won four conference championships, and made six postseason appearances - including two Fiesta Bowl wins. After coaching the wide receivers for five seasons, to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks' coach before the 2011 season following Bryan Harsin's departure for Texas. Under Pease's guidance, Maxwell Award winner Kellen Moore finished off his decorated career as the winningest quarterback in FBS history.

There will be high expectations for the entire Florida staff for a bounce back in 2012, but especially for the offense. The Gators were ranked tenth in the SEC in total offense in 2011, only better than Ole Miss and Kentucky. The unit was not helped by a revolving door at quarterback and injuries to key playmakers, but the fans in the Swamp are not used to performances like the 184 yards of total offense in a 21-7 loss to Florida State at home.

Muschamp will speak to the media Wednesday afternoon to discuss the hire, be sure to follow Gators RapidReports for further updates.

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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