Tag:Big East
Posted on: January 6, 2011 12:06 pm

Very good news about Eric LeGrand

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In October, Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand was covering a kickoff against Army when he took a hit.  A hit that left him paralyzed and doctors suspected would keep him from ever walking again.  Since then, however, LeGrand has been making progress in his recovery.  Doctors have changed the diagnosis of his paralysis to incomplete, and he's been able to breathe on his own without a ventilator since late November.

Which is great news, but the news seems to keep getting better for LeGrand.  According to the Newark Star-Ledger, LeGrand now has movement in his shoulders and "full sensation" throughout his body.  He previously only had feeling in his hands.

All of which is fantastic news for LeGrand, his family, Rutgers and college football fans in general.

LeGrand recently gave his first interview since being paralyzed, and it will be aired on ESPN on Friday morning.  In the interview LeGrand said that when he was carted off the field during that October game, he wanted to give the crowd a thumbs up, but felt like "1,000 pounds was on his thumb."

Posted on: January 4, 2011 2:40 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 3:41 pm

Details on Mike Haywood's arrest emerge

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Now that Mike Haywood no longer has to worry about running the football program at Pitt, he can concentrate all his time and energy on his upcoming court case following his arrest for domestic assault last week.  Since being released from jail, Haywood hasn't had a whole lot to say about the case publicly, just that his arrest "wasn't fair" and "the truth will eventually come out."

Well, the truth, at least according to the police reports, has come out.  Haywood pled not guilty in court on Monday, and a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette pieced together what went on at Beth Marriott's -- the mother of Haywood's one-year old son -- home in South Bend.
According to a court document, Ms. Marriott told St. Joseph County police Officer Diana Landry on Friday that she was angry with Mr. Haywood because she suspected him of seeing another woman in Texas, and because he did not return home from there Thursday night as she expected. She barricaded the door to the house, she said, because Mr. Haywood had given keys to several people.
Mr. Haywood, 46, said he stayed in the South Bend Marriott Hotel on Thursday night because he could not enter his house, the document said. He forced the door open Friday, he said, later showing police a picture he took on his cell phone of a blue pole that he said barricaded the door.
Ms. Marriott said she and Mr. Haywood argued and that she decided to go to her brother's house with the child and put him in a car in the garage. Mr. Haywood, she said, attempted to take the boy out of the car and pulled her away by wrapping his arm around her neck and throwing her backward, causing her to fall on a wheelbarrow. She said she felt a pop in her neck but no pain, and her arm was "burning and tingling" but she did not know how she hurt it. Ms. Landry wrote that she saw dark red marks on Ms. Marriott's neck and jaw, a raised mark on her back and redness on her right arm, consistent with her story.
Mr. Haywood said he did not want Ms. Marriott to take the child and that he hadn't given her permission to use his car. He said he opened the back door to remove the child and Ms. Marriott tried to stop him by grabbing his shirt. He pushed her away with his arm and she fell, he said. He helped her to her feet, then called his attorney. He said Ms. Marriott's face, neck and chest turn red when she is upset.

Now, if you'll let me put on my lawyerin' pants for a moment, I can tell you that they don't fit at all.  It seems I've put on a few pounds since I wasn't in law school, which means I really can't tell you all that much about what will come from this case.  What I do know, however, is that there aren't many circumstances when a man can put his hands on a woman and come out the hero of the story.

And while hindsight is 20/20, I bet Haywood is wishing he'd called the police first before any of this had gone down.  He'd still have his job today. 
Posted on: January 4, 2011 10:50 am

Hank Hughes named interim coach at UConn

Posted by Tom Fornelli

UConn finds itself in unfamiliar territory at the moment, because for the first time in the school's FBS history, it has a coaching search to conduct.  The problem is, with signing day not even a month away, somebody needs to take the program over now to keep things running as smoothly as possible while the school begins its search.

And that person is going to be assistant head coach Hank Hughes.

"Hank Hughes is the perfect choice to fill the role as interim head coach for our football program," said UConn AD Jeffrey Hathaway in a statement. "He has been a long-time member of our coaching staff and is extremely loyal to our university and our Division of Athletics. Hank will provide outstanding leadership to our football student-athletes and support staff during this time of transition."

Hughes will also be a candidate to take over the job full time, but he won't be alone in that department.  While the school hasn't made any official announcement about who they'll be looking at, names that keep coming up as possibilities are Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, former Miami offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, and Iowa offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe.

Ironically, another name being mentioned is the man who was supposed to be getting the Maryland job Randy Edsall left for, Mike Leach.  In a way, Mike Leach has become the new Randy Edsall since his name comes up for every coaching job, but he never gets the job.  Another possibility would be Rich Rodriguez should he be relieved of his duties at Michigan.
Posted on: January 3, 2011 12:30 pm

Wannstedt won't coach bowl game

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Here's how messed up the coaching situation has been at Pitt over the last few weeks.  After basically forcing Dave Wannstedt to resign following the season, the school then hired Mike Haywood to take over the program.  Haywood had the job for an entire fourteen days before getting arrested for domestic assault and consequently being dismissed from the job, setting the coaching search wheels in motion once more.

Well, did you know that Pitt still has a bowl game to play?  Yeah, its the BBVA Compass Bowl and it's only a few days away.  Did you also know that up until this morning, Pitt had no idea who would actually be coaching the team in that bowl game?

Dave Wannstedt informed his staff this morning that he won't be coaching the team against Kentucky, which means that defensive coordinator Phil Bennett will handle the head coaching duties in the game.

Seriously, the Panthers are giving UConn a run for the money in the "Worst 2011 Ever" contest.  Making matters worse for the Panthers is that they also found out on Monday that senior defensive tackle Jabaal Sheard just had surgery and won't be available to play against Kentucky.

The worst news it that the game is still five days away.  Who knows what else can happen before then?

Posted on: January 3, 2011 11:55 am
Edited on: January 3, 2011 12:09 pm

UConn players upset with Randy Edsall

Posted by Tom Fornelli

One of the things you can never be sure about when you commit to a school for four years is whether or not the coach that spent all those hours in your living room recruiting you will be there the entire time you attend the school.  The way that college football coaching works in this day and age, it's just a risk you have to take, and you have to remember you're committing to a school, not a coach.

Still, when that coach leaves, it could sting a bit.  Especially if that coach handles it the way that Randy Edsall apparently did when he told his UConn team he had taken the job at Maryland. One anonymous player told the Hartford Courant how the team found out, and he doesn't sound very happy about it .

"We were on hold for a half-hour, with the operations manager telling us Edsall would be coming on in a few minutes. When Edsall came on he was like, 'I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry I can't do this in person, but due to circumstances ... I just want to let you know that it's not because of you guys. But it's an opportunity for my family. ... I can move on feeling like I've accomplished things here and I'm leaving the program in a good way.'

"A couple of coaches said that was BS. ... They didn't know about it. He hadn't told any of us.

 "It really pisses me off because he made Jordan (Todman) address the team (Sunday) night to say he was leaving. And he isn't man enough to do it face to face to us?

 "A lot of people were just really upset by the call. He made Todman get up and tell the whole team: 'Jordan, I think you have something to say to these guys.' He made him do it face-to-face. But he didn't do it face-to-face.

"I'm going to look [at other schools], not Big East or anything. ... When you bring in a new coach, the first three or four years [it's all developing the program)]. But these are Edsall's players, not the new guy's. ... Well, I'm going to get the (naughty word) out of here. But what happens with the incoming recruiting class? Are those guys still coming?

"The thing I'm concerned with is, am I going to get my release."

I understand that with all of the football players on break, it's hard to get the entire team together, and that Edsall is somewhat busy at the moment, but to do to it over the phone, after you made Jordan Todman do it in person seems pretty weak.  According to the player, Edsall told the team that he just found about about the Maryland job and it was something that just suddenly happened.

According to reports, Edsall had been in negotiations with Maryland last week.

So if you're going to make Todman man up and tell the team he was leaving, why couldn't he have done so himself either before or after the Fiesta Bowl?
Posted on: January 2, 2011 4:22 pm

It's been a bad 24 hours for UConn

Posted by Tom Fornelli

You have to wonder if UConn may be regretting the fact that it was chosen to play in the Fiesta Bowl a bit right now.  Forget about the fact that Oklahoma did what everybody expected Oklahoma to do to the Huskies on Saturday night, it's what's happened in the hours since then that have damaged UConn the most.

Now, even with the loss, getting the kind of exposure for the football program that being in the Fiesta Bowl brings is a good thing.  Of course, national exposure for a program is a two-way street.  Yes, people know who you are now, even if all they know about you is that you aren't as good as Oklahoma.  The problem is that exposure not only works for the program, but the people in it.

Jordan Todman has been one of the best running backs in college football all season, but because of where he rushed for all those yards and touchdowns, not everybody knew about it.  Now Todman had a chance to perform in the national spotlight, with the eyes of NFL scouts upon him.  He didn't have the greatest game, but it's no coincidence that he's now going to skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

He knew that the spotlight on him probably won't get any brighter in 2011.

Then there's Randy Edsall.  The job Edsall has done at UConn can't be over looked.  He took a program from the FCS and helped make it a contender in a BCS conference, and only needed seven years to win the Big East and get to a BCS bowl.  It's because of this that Edsall's name has seemed to pop up in every coaching vacancy around the country the last few years, but it seems that one school finally couldn't resist passing up the opportunity to actually hire him.  

Sunday brought the news that Edsall was going to be named the new head coach at Maryland.  Now, less than 24 hours after the culmination of all the work Edsall put in at UConn, after the team finally reached a BCS bowl game, it's right back to where it started seven years ago.

Happy new year, UConn.
Posted on: January 2, 2011 4:03 pm

Marvin Lewis on Pitt's list

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Maybe Pitt can just consider the Mike Haywood hire a practice run.  A day after the Mike Haywood Era -- and what a memorable era it was -- came to an end following Haywood's arrest, names are starting to pop up as possible replacements.  One of whom is currently patrolling an NFL sideline this weekend.

Marvin Lewis's contract with the Cincinnati Bengals expires after the NFL season, and all indications out of Cincinnati is that he won't be back with the team next season. Of course, that doesn't mean he won't have a shot to be an assistant coach in the NFL next year, but it's possible he could land a head coaching gig at Pitt according to a report on Pro Football Talk.

According to the report, Lewis is on a short-list of candidates the school has in mind to replace Haywood, and Lewis does have a history with the school. He spent three seasons as an assistant at Pitt, along with guys like Jon Gruden and Mike McCarthy.  Now, just because Pitt has interest in Lewis, that doesn't mean he'll be interested in Pitt.

It's unknown who else is on this short list of Pitt's, but Penn State head coach Joe Paterno has an idea who's name should be on it.  His long time defensive coordinator Tom Bradley.  Paterno told The Morning Call that Bradley would be a very good candidate for the job, as he's an excellent coach and has strong recruiting ties in Pittsburgh and throughout the state of Pennsylvania.

Over the years many people have seen Bradley as the likely successor to Paterno at Penn State, but given the fact that he recently went after the Temple job that Steve Addazio landed, he may no longer feel as if he has a future at Penn State without Paterno.
Posted on: January 2, 2011 2:23 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2011 6:46 pm

Maryland's next coach is Randy Edsall

Posted by Adam Jacobi

[UPDATE, 6:45 p.m.: Maryland has officially announced the hiring of Randy Edsall tonight.]

After the unceremonious dismissal of Ralph Friedgen from the head coaching spot at Maryland , most people expected Mike Leach to be named the new head coach shortly thereafter. Leach was the only person named by Maryland AD Kevin Anderson at the press conference announcing Friedgen's departure, and he was the first person formally interviewed by Maryland earlier this week.

So, naturally, just hours after Connecticut 's 48-20 loss to Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, Huskies head coach Randy Edsall was reportedly tabbed to run the Terrapins.

Wait, what?

The Washington Post reported today that according to several sources, Edsall was at Maryland interviewing for the head coaching spot with the search committee. CSN's Chick Hernandez confirmed the report and said that "barring major setback," Edsall would be hired. Minutes later, Joe Schad reported on Twitter that Maryland had in fact tabbed Edsall, and here we are. The hire has not been confirmed by Maryland, and according to the Baltimore Sun, one source at the school insists Leach is still a candidate, but an announcement is expected within 24 hours.

If Terps fans are disappointed by the prospect of Edsall coming aboard, it'd be hard to blame them; bringing Leach and the Air Raid offense to Maryland would have been a breath of fresh air for the program after it took the hit of losing coach-in-waiting James Franklin in December. But a breath of fresh air isn't the same thing as a quality, long-term hire, and that's apparently the direction Maryland wants to go with this hire. Edsall built Connecticut from a I-AA power to a FBS BCS competitor (albeit arguably the worst ever) in just a few years, and Maryland could use that type of institutional quantum leap forward -- or, as Anderson put it, "from 'good' to 'great'." Whether Edsall can deliver on that scale, of course, is something that necessarily remains to be seen.

And if Edsall is indeed confirmed as Maryland's next top man, we can't help but wonder... Mike Leach to UConn?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com