Posted on: January 11, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2011 4:32 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
When Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon was done speaking with Les Miles, he took his jet to Southern California to hire the next head football coach for the Wolverines. There is no word yet as to if an official offer was made to Miles, but after the discussions Brandon wasted no time in getting the deal done with San Diego State's Brady Hoke.
“We are pleased to announce the hiring of Brady,” Brandon said in the official school release. “He is a terrific coach and will be a great ambassador and leader for our football program. We look forward to having him build a championship program on the field and in the classroom.”
Hoke was a member of the Michigan staff from 1995-2002 as the defensive line coach. His 1997 championship defense led the nation in rushing defense at 89 yards per game. He was named the 2010 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the Aztecs to a 9-4 record and 35-14 Poinsettia Bowl win over Navy.
Brady Hoke's name has always been on the Michigan radar, and it has been widely speculated that he has always been willing to accept the job if offered. But before the Wolverines were ready to ink the eager Hoke to a contract, they had to at least ask about the services of alum's Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles. In the last week the rumors flew from every direction, but after Harbaugh got hired by the San Francisco 49ers, and Les Miles announced he would stay with LSU; the move for the Wolverines became obvious.
Hoke will be officially announced as the head coach in a press conference at 1 p.m. EST on Wednesday.
Posted on: January 11, 2011 2:14 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2011 3:18 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
1. The SEC is still the best conference in college football. Yes, the conference may have only gone 5-5 in bowl games this season, and it may have included a couple losses against a Conference USA team and a Big East team, but here is the stat that actually mattered: for the fifth straight year, the national champion calls the SEC home. Oh, and let's not just ignore the fact that a twelve team league had ten teams playing in bowl games to begin with. Fans of other conferences around the country may have been hoping the conference would get knocked down a peg this postseason, but prepare yourselves for plenty more "ESSSS EEEEEEE SEEEEEE" chants in 2011.
2. The 2010 season belonged to Cam Newton and Auburn. Whether the headlines were good or bad this season, the college football world seemed to revolve around a tiny town in eastern Alabama and the quarterback that caught a nation's eye. It's somewhat fitting that on the final drive of the season, the one that gave Auburn its national championship, the one player who put the team on his back for most of the season had to play a secondary role thanks to being banged up. For once, Cam Newton 's defense and his offense decided to carry him to the finish line. We don't know for sure what Cam Newton's future will hold, but odds are that Newton is bound for the NFL. How will Auburn fare next season without its Superman?
3. Alabama is still really good . Honestly, if college football did have a playoff system in place of the bowls, would any of you have been shocked to see Alabama make it to another title game? The Tide suffered three losses this season. They came at the hands of South Carolina , LSU and Auburn . When the worst loss of your season is against the SEC East champion, you didn't have a bad season. Then the Tide went out and put an exclamation point on the year by pasting Michigan State -- a team with one loss and ranked in the top ten -- by 42 points.
4. The SEC East should be better next season. While the SEC may have gone 5-5 as a whole during the bowl season, the SEC East was responsible for four of those losses. The good news for the division is that things should improve a bit next year, as Georgia and Tennessee aren't likely to suffer two losing seasons in a row, South Carolina will still have Marcus Lattimore and won't have Stephen Garcia , and Florida might actually have an offensive system suited for its quarterback. Well, if John Brantley stays. Plus, with all the key players that Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas and LSU will be losing to the NFL this spring, the West shouldn't be nearly as dominant.
Posted on: January 11, 2011 12:40 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2011 12:58 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
UPDATE: LSU as made it official, announcing on Twitter that Miles will be staying in Baton Rouge.
I never really believed that Michigan had a shot to get Les Miles to leave LSU, but I have to admit that over the last few days, I changed my mind. Miles was giving vague answers to questions by reporters, those Michigan planes were in Dallas and Baton Rouge, and he was spending a whole lot of time talking to the school. Of course, I should have known that as soon as I changed my mind and thought he was headed to Ann Arbor that there was no shot.
And it seems there's no shot. According to various reports, Les Miles will be staying at LSU.
The school issued a release last night saying that it was prepared to do whatever it had to in order to keep Miles in LSU, and it seems that they have. Considering the amount of time that Michigan spent with Miles over the last few days, you have to think that the school made an offer, and that Miles turned it down. That or he let LSU know what Michigan was offering and LSU decided to match or surpass it.
We'll likely find out more in the coming days.
As for where Michigan goes from here, nobody knows for sure. However, if you're Brady Hoke, you have to have a smile on your face right now.
Posted on: January 10, 2011 12:29 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Those sure are some interesting looking planes in Baton Rouge this week. If you're into the fun trend that is tracking flights across this country, then you'd already know that the plane belonging to Michigan booster Richard Rogel has been in Baton Rouge for a few days now. It's also been rumored that Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon took a plane of his own to Dallas over the weekend to meet with Les Miles during the coaches convention. Whether or not Miles has already had contact with Michigan, we don't know. What we do know is that it looks like the interview process is about to be made official, as the Detroit News reports that Miles will officially interview with Michigan this week.
Miles is back in Baton Rouge this morning to attend the press conference for Patrick Peterson, who will be announcing that he's entering the NFL Draft. After that, sources tell the Detroit News that Miles will interview with Michigan on Tuesday.
Which means one of two things. Either Les Miles will be the new head coach at the University of Michigan before the week is over, or Les Miles will have a nice little pay raise from LSU by the end of the week. We know that Michigan has already said it won't spare any expense in finding a new coach, and Miles already makes $3.75 million annually at LSU. We've also heard that LSU will try and keep Miles in Baton Rouge.
So no matter where he ends up, Les Miles' wallet is going to win.
Posted on: January 10, 2011 11:28 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
While Florida may be getting Janoris Jenkins back for another season, another SEC cornerback, who many consider to be the best in the country, won't be following the same path. At a press conference on Monday afternoon, LSU cornerback and return specialist Patrick Peterson will make the announcement that he won't be coming back to Baton Rouge for his senior season, but will be entering the NFL Draft.
"I have to make the decision that's best for me," said Peterson. "It was a pleasure the years I was here. When that decision comes down, I believe they (LSU fans) will still be Patrick Peterson fans."
It's a smart decision for Peterson to make. Now that Andrew Luck has decided to stay at Stanford for another season, Peterson's draft stock has only risen. Our own Rob Rang envisions the Carolina Panthers taking him with the first overall pick. Just about every mock draft you'll see has Peterson going in the top five.
Peterson had 42 tackles, 10 passes defended, and four interceptions for LSU this season. He also returned two punts for touchdowns.
Posted on: January 8, 2011 10:43 pm
Edited on: January 8, 2011 10:44 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The Michigan coaching search may still be in its infancy, but already there's a prominent name attached to it: Les Miles. The LSU head coach, fresh off a 41-24 victory over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, is reportedly one of Michigan's targets: as Joe Schad reported, Michigan is expected to interview Miles, who is a former Michigan lineman and a 10-year assistant coach with the Wolverines.
This report jibes with earlier reports that a tracked plane that went from Ann Arbor to Baton Rouge was indeed carrying Michigan staffers who were on campus to make contact with Miles.
If this rumor sounds familiar, it should; Les Miles was nearly hired by Michigan three years ago. In a now-infamous incident of administrative blundering, Miles' representation was unable to seal the deal with Michigan because Michigan's then-AD Bill Martin was on vacation sailing. Seriously. Miles got a contract extension from LSU shortly thereafter, and that was that. Could Miles be angling for another extension, or would he really be interested in Michigan as a new destination?
Posted on: January 8, 2011 11:45 am
Edited on: January 8, 2011 11:46 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Michigan fans may be hoping that they will be able to land Les Miles as their next head coach, a "Michigan man" to pull the program out from frustrating mediocrity. But as the rumors continue to swirl, the current LSU head coach is telling his players that he isn't going anywhere.
"[Miles] said, 'They have rumors going around about (me) going to Michigan, but it's not true,'" LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson told the Times-Picayune. "'It's nonsense.' He said hasn't spoken to anybody, anything about Michigan. We're going to stick with that and get ready for next year."
Running back Stevan Ridley echoed Jefferson's statements, and the thinking around Baton Rouge appears to be that Miles will be staying parked with the Tigers for the time being. Those quotes came after LSU's 41-24 win over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. The win wraps up LSU's season with an 11-2 record, tied for second best in the Les Miles era.
If Miles' commitment to LSU is firm, then many speculate that Michigan will begin seriously pursuing San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke. Hoke was the defensive line coach at Michigan for seven seasons before accepting the head coaching job at his alma mater, Ball State. Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon has emphasized the focus on defense for the program moving forward, and Hoke would certainly fit the bill to improve that aspect of the Wolverines' game.
Posted on: January 8, 2011 3:09 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
LSU takes an 11-point lead into halftime after a critical Ryan Tannehill interception, and never looks back in a 41-24 victory.
Offense: Where on earth did that come from? "That" meaning: the nation's 87th-ranked offense, taking on an explosive and talented Big 12 defense, unloading a 446-yard, 41-point barrage that looked more like something we'd expect to see Monday night than tonight. For 60 minutes, the usually error-prone and conservative LSU attack -- remember, this is the same team that gained only 282 yards and scored just four touchdowns against Alcorn State -- lived up to every ounce of its vast potential.
Shall we count the ways? Jordan Jefferson had what may have been the best game of his career, throwing for three touchdowns to MVP Terrance Toliver and terrorizing A&M with his legs; aided by a dominant line, running backs Stevan Ridley and Spencer Ware each went over 100 yards, the latter on just 10 carries; and offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, less-than-popular amongst the LSU faithful these days, kept the Aggies off-balance all night with an expertly-called game. The Grade here is an easy A.
Defense: The LSU defense had a few shaky moments early on, as the Aggies showed a little bit of balance of their own to score 17 points (and miss a field goal) on their first four possessions. But from there, it was all Bayou Bengals as the Aggies' final seven drives ended interception, interception, punt, punt, touchdown, interception, fumble.
Leading the way was, predictably, an LSU cornerback ... but maybe not the one you're thinking. Freshman Tyrann Mathieu clinched the game with a pair of second-half turnovers, the first a diving interception of Tannehill and the second a smooth strip-and-recovery that would have given him a fumble returned for touchdown if not for an LSU penalty. And it was fellow freshman defensive back Eric Reid that made the play of the game, intercepting Tannehill and returning the ball to the Aggie 2, setting up the touchdown that would stretch LSU's lead to two possessions for good. By that point, any sins to open the game had long since been forgiven. Grade: B+
Coaching: Crowton had arguably his best game since the 2007 national championship, and despite the lingering concerns that Les Miles might be plotting an escape to Michigan, the Mad Hatter had his team ready to play their best game since at least the win over Alabama. No complaints here. Grade: A
Offense: Give A&M some credit: as athletic, well-coached, and just plain fast as LSU's defense is, 24 points and 351 yards aren't anything to sneeze at. Despite the presence of Drake Nevis and Kelvin Sheppard in the front seven, Cyrus Gray still got his school-record seventh-straight 100-yard rushing game, and the Aggies finished with only one fewer first down than LSU, 24 to 23.
But none of that mattered half as much as the four turnovers, particularly the backbreaking Reid pick just before the half, which robbed the Aggies of a shot to take the lead and instead sent them in at halftime down 11 with LSU getting the ball. Tannehill had a tremendous half-season after taking over the starter's job, but this wasn't his best night. Grace: C+
Defense: It's pretty simple: when you've let an offense as moribund as LSU's walk all over you the way LSU's did -- when Jordan Jefferson has looked like a world-beater, when Gary Crowton looks like a genius, when with the game slipping away in the third quarter you allow them to embark on a 12-play, 59-yard march that eats up 7 minutes of clock -- then you have had bad, bad night. Von Miller was his usual self -- a sack and three tackles-for-loss -- but even he couldn't do it alone. Grade: D+
Coaching: Not many in-game decisions from Mike Sherman and his crew seemed like particularly egregious mistakes, but clearly something went awry in the Aggies' defensive game-planning for LSU to put together the kind of performance they did. And while the attempt to keep Gray involved and the offense balanced in the fourth quarter makes a certain kind of sense, a little more desperation (read: passing) would have been needed to actually turn the thing around. Grade: C
FINAL GRADE: The first quarter made it seem the game would be a classic; the second quarter made it seem it would still be competitive; the third made it look like A&M would need a miracle; the fourth was just garbage time. Oh well. Grade: B-