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Tag:UConn
Posted on: February 24, 2011 2:01 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 2:08 pm
 

OU's Stoops earns $1 million raise

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

So ... how much would you think a Big 12 championship and not-entirely-convincing Fiesta Bowl win over UConn is worth in today's open coaching market?

The answer according to those holding the purse strings at Oklahoma: a cool $1 million. That's the amount of the raise given to Bob Stoops after his Sooners' successful 2010 season, bringing his annual salary to en eye-popping $4.875 million before incentives or media appearance compensation.

So how much is $4.875 million, really? In 2010, only two other coaches crossed the $4.5 million threshold: Nick Saban and Mack Brown. After Stoops' bonuses and other extras, he'll almost certainly join Saban and Brown as the only coaches in the FBS to have cracked the $5 million mark. That seems like a hefty price tag for a coach who (unlike Saban or Brown) hasn't been to the national title game since 2004, but with programs like Notre Dame and Florida reportedly sniffing around the last couple of offseasons to see if Stoops could have been lured away, it might have been necessary to keep Stoops in Norman all the same.

That said, we don't know if the faculty in Norman are working under the same kind of wage controls that helped lead to the coaching salary outrage at Texas Tech, but we're betting there's been some eyebrows raised regardless.  

Posted on: February 17, 2011 1:39 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2011 1:40 pm
 

UConn YouTube QB: 'I need to learn the offense'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Hey, remember this video of UConn backup quarterback Johnny McEntee?




Of course you do, since every sports site on the Internet wound up posting it. (YouTube views as of today total more than 4.5 million.) So you might also still be asking the question nearly everyone asked when they saw it: if he's that good, why isn't he starting?

In an interview with Boston sports radio station WEEI , McEntee answered that question with good humor ... or at least, we hope this first part is humor:
Why isn’t he starting?:

“I’m too busy doing trick shots. I guess I need to learn the offense and defense a little bit better. These are just tricks. We have a new offensive coordinator, so we have a new [playbook] to learn.”

Surely, surely, McEntee didn't actually admit that he'd spent too much time fooling around with trick shots to learn the playbook ... right? He said shooting the video took an entire day, but that's just one day. There was still plenty of other time in which a bright kid like this could (and did) get the offense down ... correct?

McEntee added that the hype for the video is "starting to get a little out of hand," so don't expect a sequel for the time being. Unless he wants UConn fans to take the above quote at face value, that's probably for the best.


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: February 11, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 5:47 pm
 

Phil Steele: Oklahoma will open at No. 1

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Each year, preseason magazine guru Phil Steele releases what he expects to be the preseason AP top 10 come August. And so even though it's mid-February (or rather, because it's mid-February, and what else is a college football diehard going to talk about?), it's already time for the 2011 version, now available here .

The headline? Steele expects Oklahoma to open next season at No. 1 after the Sooners thumped UConn in the Fiesta Bowl and saw Ryan Broyles elect to return for his senior season. He writes (in his usual unique fashion):
This year OU will be ranked #1 in the pre-season by nearly everyone as they return 15 starters on off/def including QB [Landry] Jones, WR Broyles and LB [Travis] Lewis. Their schedule sets up nicely with a bye before their road trip to Florida State (a team they dominated [last year] 47-17). In Big 12 play naturally there is the Red River Rivalry game vs Texas who is coming off a 5-7 season and the only other huge hurdle could be the season finale at Oklahoma State but the Sooners have won the Bedlam rivalry 8 straight times and have an overall mark of 82-16-7 vs their in-state rivals. With their key returning starters back and a favorable schedule, the Sooners should get the nod as the Preseason AP #1 team!
Following the Sooners are No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Oregon, No. 4 LSU, No. 5 Stanford, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 7 Boise State, No. 8 Florida State, No. 9 Oklahoma State, and No. 10 South Carolina.

If Steele is accurate (and he predicted nine of 10 each of the past two seasons), that will be as about an outsider-dominated preseason top 10 as you could imagine, a fitting follow to a season that saw the lowest-ranked preseason team ever (Auburn) make the BCS title game. Sure, there's the Sooners, Tide, and LSU, but it's only been recently that teams like the Ducks and Broncos have become top-10 institutions, it's been years since Florida State or Texas A&M enjoyed that much hype, and it's more-or-less uncharted territory for the Cowboys, Cardinal, and Gamecocks.

Unfortunately, for the Cowboys, Cardinal, and Gamecocks, those kinds of expectations don't always pan out; just ask the Cowboys from two years ago, when the most heavily-hyped team in school history went a ho-hum 9-4, lost 27-0 to the Sooners, and fell to Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl. For their sakes, the fans at those three schools (not to mention A&M, which, seriously, hasn't seen these kind of expectations in a while ) had maybe better hope Steele's got this one wrong.
Posted on: February 11, 2011 5:27 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 5:29 pm
 

UConn and angry booster are BFF again

Posted by Tom Fornelli

They say that time heals all wounds, but that's a lie when you get down to it. I've had this same scar on my elbow from the time I fell off my bike executing -- or trying to anyway -- a jump when I was ten years old. It's been 20 years, the scar is still there. Still, I suppose there are exceptions to every rule, and my elbow may just be one of them.

That doens't mean we shouldn't amend the idiom to say time heals some wounds. For instance, do you remember Robert Burton? He was the angry UConn booster who demanded a $3 million refund from the school after he wasn't consulted in the Paul Pasqualoni hire. Well, the two sides have hugged it out, and everybody is cool. UConn released a statement about it on Friday.
The University of Connecticut, longtime UConn donor Robert G. Burton, Sr. and his family have agreed to move past their differences and continue their longstanding relationship, according to UConn Board of Trustees Chairman Larry McHugh. McHugh previously said he intended to meet with the family, which he and board Vice Chair Tom Ritter did on Feb. 9.
Citing the Burton family’s past generosity and commitment to the University of Connecticut, McHugh stated: “The time spent with the Burtons confirmed my suspicion that they continue to possess a deep reservoir of love and respect for our University despite the frustration and disappointment they felt with the process used in hiring our new football head coach. The Burton family has been very generous to the university with their time, energy and resources. I felt that it was important to pay a visit to them and have a dialogue. I am very pleased that in a very short period of time he and his family were able to reconnect with UConn, recognizing all the good UConn does for its students and our state. The UConn community is grateful for all of the contributions the Burton family has made to enhance our academic and athletic programs and the support they have provided to so many UConn students.
Burton had this to say:
“I was very pleased that Larry and Tom reached out to my family and me. I think we had very good discussions. I also want to acknowledge Phil Austin, as well as incoming President Susan Herbst who also reached out to me and let her know that the Burton family looks forward to her successful tenure leading UConn. What I am sure they found was a family that is committed to UConn and wanted to reestablish the relationship that has been beneficial both to UConn and to the Burton family. Unfortunately, my unmet expectations and displeasure with the process used to select the football coach left my family and me upset. This expectation was based upon various times during the past 12 years where my family and I were consulted on a number of issues related to the football program as UConn moved from a 1AA school to a 1A BCS Bowl participant. But I have been reflecting on it and came to the conclusion that I’m not going to let one experience change the relationship my family and I have with UConn. We love the university, we’re proud of our association with it and it is going to continue.”
I don't know about you, but I'm wiping tears away from my eyes right now. I just love happy endings!
Posted on: February 11, 2011 1:22 am
Edited on: February 11, 2011 1:23 am
 

Report: Randy Shannon may be Maryland's next DC

Posted by Adam Jacobi

When Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown bolted his post for the same at UConn last week, it seemed to mean, well, something; after all, incoming Terps head coach Randy Edsdall had made precisely the opposite move, so perhaps not everybody shared Edsall's sentiment that Maryland was a dream job.

Fortunately, Edsall knows the single most important maxim one can learn: that the best revenge is massive success. To that end, Edsall immediately sought out former Miami head coach Randy Shannon to replace Brown, and now the Washington Post reports that the two are closing in on a deal to bring Shannon to Maryland.

Say what you will about Shannon's results as a head coach of the Hurricanes and the fan exodus that ensued, but the man can coach defense. In his six seasons as Miami's defensive coordinator, the Hurricanes ranked in the top ten nationally in total defense in five of those seasons. In his four subsequent seasons as a head coach, his team never finished lower than 33rd nationally.

Of course, this isn't the first time we've heard Shannon's name attached to a prominent job; he was a strong contender at UCLA three weeks ago, but obviously that didn't pan out. On that note, then, it's important to wait for official confirmation from all parties involved that the deal is on, but for now, it looks like Randy Edsall is making the most of his unexpected opening at defensive coordinator, and that Randy Shannon is back in college football, where he belongs.

Posted on: February 10, 2011 4:38 pm
 

Oversigning debate hits Connecticut legislature

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If we haven't yet, let's go ahead and call this the Offseason of Oversigning. No topic has proven to be a bigger hot button since Auburn polished Oregon off in Glendale, with everyone from Nick Saban to USA Today to Bernie Machen to Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples to compliance officials to (as of today) Jay Paterno weighing in on the subject ... and we're not even halfway through February.

Such has been the topic's rapid rise to critical mass that it's even being debated outside the world of college football--in this case, inside the halls of the Connecticut state legislature , where a bill called the "Connecticut Student-Athletes' Right to Know Act" would "require universities to spell out the details" on how and why their athletic scholarships could be revoked or unrenewed.

Appearing before legislative officials to argue for the bill were local professor (and former Notre Dame football player) Allen Sack and former UCLA Bruin Ramogi Huga:
While NCAA rules state that athletic aid cannot be reduced or cancelled during the one-year period of the award because of athletic ability or injury, Sack said, "the rules are murky when it comes to conditions for the renewal and non-renewal of the scholarships in the subsequent year."

"Some universities renew scholarships for four years as long as athletes continue playing and adhere to team rules," said Sack. "Others cancel scholarships for poor athletic performance or for injury" ...

Huma, a former UCLA football player and president of the National College Players Association — a California nonprofit made up of more than 14,000 Division 1 student athletes — also testified at the hearing and went one step further. He said the majority of high school recruits decide which college to attend based on "false information given to them by athletic recruiters."

Most recruits and their parents have no idea, Huma said, that colleges can "leave them with sports-related medical expenses, take away their scholarship for any reason, leave them with tens of thousands of dollars in educational-related expenses, and hold their eligibility and scholarship opportunities hostage when they try to transfer schools."
Though neither Sack nor Huga specifically refers to the practice of oversigning, the controversy over whether teams (in Sack's words) "cancel scholarships for poor athletic performance" in order to make room for new recruits nonetheless puts it at the heart of the bill. It's hardly coincidence it appears just as the debate over oversigning reaches its most heated point, just as it wasn't coincidence Saban prematurely echoed Sank's words by saying "We have never gotten rid of a player because of his physical ability" in his defense of his recruiting practices.

The bill still has many hurdles to clear before passing, including a check with the NCAA to make it sure it doesn't run afoul of (or further complicate) NCAA regulations. And, of course, there's a massive, massive gulf between one such bill passing in Connecticut (where UConn would be the only FBS program affected) and nationwide oversigning reform enacted by either the NCAA or the government.

But the point remains: more than ever it appears college football is sloping towards some kind of oversigning legislation, and that the only real question is how slippery that slope will be.

Posted on: February 9, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Why FBS, 'Nova? So your backup QB can go viral

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Villanova has a decision to make: accept the Big East's offer to upgrade their 2009 national championship FCS program and become the league's 11th football member, or remain in the conference in all sports outside of football and continue to compete for Colonial Athletic Association titles in the division formerly known as I-AA. So what better way to educate the 'Nova-affiliated masses on the pros and cons of that decision than a flash-video presentation on YouTube?
 


Yes, it's on the dry side, but it's also interesting -- from our usual rabid football fan perspective -- to see an issue usually simplified to "well, do you want to really play college football, or don't you?" laid out in such a calm, nuts-and-bolts fashion. (If you don't have seven minutes to spend, I'll sum up: FBS football would offer 'Nova a lot of notoriety. But it would also cost the school lot of money, especially in terms of facilities 'Nova would have to build almost from scratch.)

Of course, what the video above doesn't mention is the many unforeseen, intangible benefits to joining FBS. Take fellow Big East member UConn, for instance; if the Huskies were still fooling around in the FCS, would anyone have noticed this video (which has been plastered all over the Internet today) of third-string quarterback Johnny McEntee performing what's essentially the football version of the McDonald's Bird-vs.-Jordan H.O.R.S.E. contest?



Of course not. It's definitely something else to think about, Villanova decision-makers.

HT on 'Nova video: The Collision Course .

Posted on: February 4, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Maryland DC headed to UConn

Posted by Tom Fornelli

When Randy Edsall came to Maryland from UConn, he decided to keep Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown on his coaching staff. Well, it doesn't seem that Brown was all that happy with the idea, because according to a few reports, Brown is on his way out of Maryland to take the same position at...wait for it...UConn.

So, in a sense, it's as though UConn traded Edsall to Maryland for Brown and an undisclosed draft pick.
Brown, who came to Maryland in January 2009 as part of former coach Ralph Friedgen's staff, was retained by new Maryland coach Randy Edsall when he was hired earlier this year from Connecticut. The Huskies hired former Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni to replace Edsall.
Brown has extensive experience as a coach in New England. From 2004 to 2008, he was the head coach at Massachusetts, and before that spent four seasons as the head coach at Northeastern. He also was an assistant at Brown, Yale and Dartmouth.
This could prove to be a big loss for Edsall and Maryland. Brown only spent two seasons at Maryland, but he did a nice job with the defense in that time. The Terps defense ranked 39th nationally in total defense. The team's rushing defense was 21st in the country, and only eight teams kept opposing quarterbacks to a lower rating than Maryland did in 2010.
 
 
 
 
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