Posted on: September 6, 2011 5:25 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Yesterday, my colleague Bryan Fischer posted the last time each of the SEC teams had made a trip to Big Ten country for a road game. The results, while not surprising, were still pretty brutal: six had never faced a Big Ten team as an active member of the SEC, and of the three programs that had made the trip in the last 30 years, two are perennial doormats Vanderbilt and Kentucky, and the last is LSU -- a 36-33 loser to Ohio State in 1988. Not a good look for the mighty SEC powerhouses, but such is their strategy, and it's hard to argue with results: avoiding the Big Ten hasn't stopped the SEC from winning championship after championship, so who's the real sucker here?
Still, some fans wanted to know the other side of the story, namely, whether the Big Ten was also filled with scaredy-cats who are afraid to face the SEC on its own turf. Clearly, this hypothesis is false, as the Big Ten plays multiple bowl games a year against the SEC in the SEC footprint, and has done so for decades. On the other hand, the SEC does not go to any bowl games within the Big Ten footprint, though I've lived in the Midwest for 30 winters now, and I do not blame the SEC for staying down there come December and January. It sucks up here.
However, there is still the question of regular season scheduling and whether the Big Ten does any of that, since we're talking about true road games in the regular season. So here's the breakdown, and while it's more ambitious than the SEC's m.o., that's not saying a whole lot.
at Florida, September 23, 1967, lost 14-0
at Kentucky, September 18, 2004, lost 32-51
Never played at an SEC school.
Never played at an SEC school (did play at Kentucky, Vanderbilt and South Carolina prior to each's SEC affiliation).
at Kentucky, November 2, 1946, lost 14-39 (Michigan State did not join the Big Ten until 1953)
Never played at an SEC school.
at Auburn, October 2, 1982, won 41-7 (Nebraska did not join the Big Ten until this year, obviously)
at Vanderbilt, September 4, 2010, won 23-21
at LSU, September 26, 1987, tied 13-13
at Alabama, September 11, 2010, lost 3-24
at Vanderbilt, October 3, 1942, lost 26-0
at LSU, September 30, 1972, lost 27-7
Obviously Iowa and Minnesota have some 'splainin' to do, but by and large we see a somewhat greater -- or at least more recent -- willingness from the Big Ten to travel down south for a non-conference game. The average year of the SEC's last games at Big Ten schools is 1963 (not including Tennessee), while the Big Ten's is 1980 (again, not including nonparticipants Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota). That's still an average layoff of 31 years, which is way too long -- or at least it would be without the several bowl games between the two conferences -- but the SEC is the clear conference of wimps and shrinking violets when it comes to scheduling.
But again, that all said, it doesn't matter. the SEC doesn't need road games with the Big Ten to win championships; if anything, the elite of the conference have figured out that it's not worth their time to risk early losses in the non-conference schedule. Voters don't really care about strength of schedule next to good old wins and losses -- if they did, LSU wouldn't still be ranked behind Alabama (victors over Kent State) and Oklahoma (who really took it to Tulsa, which, yeah) even after pantsing Oregon as badly as it did. See? Huge win, barely made a difference. Win go up, lose go down. That's all polling boils down to, the SEC knows it, and the SEC gets its wins however it can. They know the system. You can't blame them for that.
Of course, it's nothing to be really proud of either, you wimps, but as long as the SEC keeps winning championships, the means are secondary to the ends.
Posted on: September 5, 2011 7:09 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2011 7:25 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
The SEC has, perhaps rightfully so, taken flak over the years for their non-conference scheduling philosophy. Yes, the league is tough but there are only so many directional schools a team can play. That's what makes this week's match up between Penn State and Alabama so rare. Two power conference teams playing each other and, perhaps most notably, the SEC team traveling to Big Ten country.
This will be the 15th meeting between the two schools but the first time ever the Crimson Tide will travel to Happy Valley when Penn State is a member of the Big Ten conference, previous trips north were when the Nittany Lions were a football independent. Even more interesting due is the fact that this is the first time Alabama has played at a Big Ten team while a member of the SEC. Yes, the first time ever.
That got me to thinking (and researching), when was the last time the rest of the SEC teams played at a Big Ten opponent? Turns out, only Kentucky and Vanderbilt have been willing to play up north during the regular season. The pair are actually the only SEC teams to play at a Big Ten school in the last 23 years until the Tide take the field on Saturday.
Here's the full list of when every current SEC team last played at a Big Ten team during the regular season:
at Wisconsin, Nov. 3, 1928, lost 15-0. (Alabama did not join the SEC until 1932)
at Iowa, Oct. 3, 1925, lost 28-0. (Arkansas did not join the SEC until 1991)
at Wisconsin, Oct. 10, 1931, tied 7-7. (Auburn did not join the SEC until 1932)
at Northwestern, Sep. 18, 1965, won 24-14.
at Michigan, Oct. 2, 1965, won 15-7.
at Indiana, Sep. 19, 2005, lost 38-14.
at Ohio State, Sep. 24, 1988, lost 36-33.
at Minnesota, Nov. 5, 1932, lost 26-0. (Ole Miss did not join the SEC until 1932)
at Illinois, Oct. 4, 1980, won 28-21.
at Michigan, Sep. 27, 1980, won 17-4 (South Carolina did not join the SEC until 1991)
Never played at a Big Ten school.
at Michigan, Sep. 2, 2006, lost 27-7.
Posted on: September 4, 2011 2:00 am
Edited on: September 4, 2011 2:00 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
1. It was a rough week for the Pac-12.
The non-conference slate is usually something the Pac-12 takes pride in but Larry Scott would certainly like to forget week one of the season on the field and concentrate on expansion off of it. Record-wise, the conference did ok at 8-4. Look deeper however, and you'll see some serious flaws. Washington allowed their first ever FCS opponent to throw for 473 yards and three touchdowns on them before Desmond Trufant made a last minute interception. USC, too, held on thanks to a last minute pick and Oregon State lost to an average FCS team in Sacramento State. Rick Neuheisel's seat got warmer with a loss to Houston and, in the week's flagship game, Oregon got pushed around by an LSU team dealing multiple off the field issues. Yes other conferences struggled this weekend, and yes the Pac-12 can rebuild their reputation, but it was just not a great start to the 2011 season out West.
2. Stanford is the conference torch-bearer for now.
There's no question it will be extremely tough for Oregon to get back into the national title race given the back-to-back losses to SEC teams and the way they were manhandled in the opener. Is it impossible for them to end up in New Orleans? No, but it will be a long climb back to the top five to be in that position again. That leaves Stanford as the most likely Pac-12 representative that can make a run. They certainly have the quarterback as Andrew Luck spread the ball around to several new targets as the Cardinal rolled San Jose State 57-3. Their schedule looks even easier now too as they host Oregon and wrap up with an even more suspect Notre Dame team. They have the best player in the country and now it's their turn to lead the charge until the Ducks roll into Palo Alto for the head-to-head showdown to take it back from them.
3. Robert Woods is a special player.
After being limited throughout parts of spring practice and fall camp, it's clear that the Freshman All-American is a key cog in the USC offense. Woods caught a school-record 17 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns and simply was the Trojans' offense against Minnesota. His quarterback was pretty sharp too, as Matt Barkley completed a school-record 34 passes despite an average-at-best offensive line in front of him. There were plenty of quick passes to Woods Saturday afternoon, but his burst and ability to break tackles are a good reason why he's wearing former great Steve Smith's number. The offense trailed off in the second half but if there's one bright spot for Lane Kiffin watching the film, it's that Woods is a star.
4. Where does Oregon State go from here?
Mike Riley didn't really know what kind of team he had this year and after week one, he really might not know. The Beavers played more freshmen in a game than they have in the last 16 years and even then, it's hard to figure out how they dropped their home opener to an FCS school that was 6-5 last season. It does appear that the team has found a replacement for Jacquizz Rodgers after true freshman Malcolm Agnew rushed for 223 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Ryan Katz was not sharp at all, completing 50 percent of his passes with an interception before being replaced at halftime. With so many question marks, Riley and company better figure some things out quickly as they'll travel to a very impressive Wisconsin team next week.
5. Why is Oregon throwing the ball so much?
Yes LSU's defense was good and yes, it was certainly swarming anytime an Oregon player touched the ball. That still doesn't explain why the Ducks couldn't run the ball Saturday night and Chip Kelly had Darron Thomas throw it an eye-popping 54 times. That was the most attempts by a quarterback on the team in over seven years. Seven. It's just not like Kelly's team to purposefully try to establish the run early and often either. Once they got behind you can understand them going to the air but rarely has the run-pass split been like it has been against LSU (and feel free to go back to last year against Auburn too). LaMichael James was held under 60 yards on the ground for his second straight game and it appeared he never could find daylight. Whether that's because he's a half-step slower or because the rebuilt offensive line couldn't create a hole is something the coaching staff will have to figure out. Bottom line, it has to be concerning to see Thomas drop back to throw as much as he did.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Bryan Fischer, Chip Kelly, Darron Thomas, Desmond Trufant, Houston, Jacquizz Rodgers, LaMichael James, Lane Kiffin, Larry Scott, LSU, Malcolm Agnew, Matt Barkley, Mike Riley, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Oregon, Oregon State, Pac-12, Rick Neuheisel, Robert Woods, Ryan Katz, Sacramento State, San Jose State, Stanford, Steve Smith, UCLA, USC, Washington, Wisconsin
Posted on: September 3, 2011 7:52 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 7:55 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
USC WON. Barely. The Trojans held on to dear life after getting shut down on offense in the second half but still managed to beat Minnesota for the second straight year, 19-17 at the Coliseum. USC looked like they were going to roll early on after taking a 19-3 lead into the locker room but the offense sputtered and the defense was just average late. It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win.
WHY USC WON: Robert Woods and Matt Barkley. Head coach Lane Kiffin said after the game that the offense had only two good players right now and that was in reference to the dynamic duo that hooked up early and often at the Coliseum. Woods caught a school-record 17 passes for 177 yards, including three touchdowns in the first half. Barkley also set a USC-record with 34 completions for 304 yards.
WHEN USC WON: This game felt like the Trojans were going to win going away based on the first half but new Gophers head coach Jerry Kill made some terrific halftime adjustments to give his team a shot to win it at the end. Thanks to two missed two point conversions early in the game, quarterback Max Shortell had the ball in his hands but threw an interception to USC cornerback Torin Harris to seal the Trojan victory in the final minute.
WHAT USC WON: A game, that's about it. It certainly wasn't a good one but if there's one take away for the coaching staff, it's that they shored up their two-minute defense a little. After bending and breaking at the end of games in 2010, it appears the 2011 edition is a bit better equipped to handle a pressure situation. The defensive line was active but trailed off and managed to record only two sacks on the day. The victory over Minnesota won't inspire much confidence as USC takes on Utah next week but getting a key stop in the 4th quarter is somewhat encouraging.
WHAT MINNESOTA LOST: Jerry Kill's debut. Though his first game as coach ended with a loss, there was a lot of good signs that he'll eventually right the ship. He lost a first-time starter at quarterback in MarQueis Gray to cramps in the 3rd quarter and brought in a true freshman in Shortell, who almost pulled off an upset. The defense adjusted well and, despite allowing a record-setting day to Woods and Barkley, did a good job of holding USC's offense to just 100 yards rushing. It might take some time but Minnesota fans have to be excited about how hard Kill's team competed.
THAT WAS CRAZY: The Trojans attempted two, two-point conversions out of the swinging-gate formation and didn't come close either time. When the team finally lined up to kick an extra point, the Coliseum crowd gave a loud Bronx-cheer for Kiffin.
Posted on: September 3, 2011 11:52 am
Edited on: September 3, 2011 2:49 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Ah, sweet, glorious football. There's nothing quite like the first football Saturday of the season, when the days are warm, so are the nights, and you're liable to catch a major sunburn on half your face if you're sitting in the north or south part of the stadium. Lots of great games and great weather on tap today. All times are eastern.
Akron at No. 18 Ohio State, 12:00, Columbus, OH: Low 90s, clear
Utah State at No. 23 Auburn, 12:00, Auburn, AL: Low 90s, clear
Miami (OH) at No. 21 Missouri, 12:00, Columbia, MO: Upper 80s, partly cloudy, storms
Kent State at No. 2 Alabama, 12:20, Tuscaloosa, AL: Low 90s, clear
Appalachian State at No. 13 Virginia Tech, 12:30, Blacksburg, VA: Upper 80s, partly cloudy, storms
Louisiana-Monroe at No. 6 Florida State, 3:30, Tallahassee, FL: Upper 80s, partly cloudy
Chattanooga at No. 10 Nebraska, 3:30, Lincoln, NE: Mid 70s, storms
South Florida at No. 16 Notre Dame, 3:30, South Bend, IN: Upper 80s, mostly cloudy, storms
Minnesota at No. 25 USC, 3:30, Los Angeles, CA: Lower 80s, clear
San Jose State at No. 7 Stanford, 5:00, Palo Alto, CA: Lower 80s, clear
Florida Atlantic at No. 22 Florida, 7:00, Gainesville, FL: Lower 80s, partly cloudy, storms
Missouri State at No. 15 Arkansas, 7:00, Fayetteville, AR: Upper 80s, clear
Louisiana-Lafayette at No. 9 Oklahoma State, 7:00, Stillwater, OK: Lower 90s, partly cloudy
East Carolina at No. 12 South Carolina, 7:00, Columbia, SC: Mid 80s, clear
Tulsa at No. 1 Oklahoma, 8:00, Norman, OK: Lower 90s, partly cloudy
No. 5 Boise State at No. 19 Georgia, 8:00, Atlanta, GA (Georgia Dome): Mid 70, partly cloudy
No. 3 Oregon at No. 4 LSU, 8:00, Arlington, TX (Cowboys Stadium): Whatever temperature Jerry Jones says. But outside it will be in the high 80s
Late night kickoffs
Colorado at Hawaii, 10:15, Honolulu, HI: Upper 70s, showers
Tags: ACC, Akron, Alabama, Appalachian State, Arkansas, Auburn, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Boise State, Chattanooga, Colorado, Conference USA, East Carolina, FCS, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida State, Football Weather, Gameday Weather, Georgia, Hawaii, Jerry Jones, Jerryworld, Kent State, Kickoff Weather, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, LSU, MAC, Miami University, Minnesota, Missouri, Missouri State, Mountain West, Nebraska, Non-BCS, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pac-12, San Jose State, SEC, South Carolina, South Florida, Stanford, Sun Belt, Tailgate Weather, Tulsa, USC, Utah State, Virginia Tech, WAC, Weather Updates
Posted on: September 2, 2011 3:17 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet. Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.
While Thursday and Friday night serve as delicious appetizers for the new college football season, one that feels like it took forever to get here, the big games start on Saturday. Since it's been a while since you planted your behind on a couch on a Saturday morning and stayed there all day, you're probably going to need some help navigating through the day.
So lucky for you, the Eye On College Football crew has brought the Saturday Meal Plan back. It's your weekly menu of which games should be on your plate and where you can find them.
#18 Ohio State vs. Akron - ESPN, 12pm ET
So many questions for Ohio State on Saturday. Will the Luke Fickell-era offense look any different? Who's going to shine between QBs Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller? How much will the team miss its eight suspended players? Does Akron stand a chance anyway? - Adam Jacobi
#23 Auburn vs. Utah State - ESPN2, 12pm ET
Despite some close calls, Auburn hasn't lost to a school outside the current BCS conferences since Southern Miss upset the Tigers back in 1991. (USM's quarterback that day was a guy named Brett Favre, who would later become famous for inventing the cell phone camera.) So it's going to take a very good team by WAC standards to break that streak, and the Aggies -- the WAC's sixth-place finisher a year ago, now without star quarterback Diondre Borel -- very likely aren't that team. Most of the drama on the Auburn sidelines should concern which of their FBS-high 16 new starters look ready for their close-up, most notably new quarterback Barrett Trotter. But if Trotter and the other Tiger cubs come out nervous -- particularly the true sophomore defensive tackle pairing of Jeffrey Whitaker and Kenneth Carter, who could have their hands full with USU's veteran line -- things could stay competitive for longer than Gene Chizik would like. - Jerry Hinnen
Boston College vs. Northwestern - ESPNU, 12pm ET
You never like to start the season with injury concerns, and that this case for the star player on both these rosters. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa was listed as "questionable" for Saturday's opener as he continues to recover from an achilles injury that ended his 2010 campaign, but popular belief seems to be that he will see the field. Boston College running back Montel Harris underwent his second arthroscopic knee surgery and will miss the game. Making matters even more difficult for the Eagles was an ankle sprain to talented backup Andre Williams. Williams will start and appears ready to go, but there will be more pressure on quarterback Chase Rettig to establish a passing attack against the Northwestern defense. Don't expect Persa to get any easy looks from the Boston College defense, led by All-American linebacker Luke Kuechly. - Chip Patterson
#16 Notre Dame vs. South Florida - NBC, 3:30pm ET
Year Two of the Brian Kelly Era in South Bend gets under way in a game against a former Notre Dame coach, and the son of the man who last brought a national championship to the school, Skip Holtz. There's a lot to look at in this game for both teams. Namely, will Notre Dame finally start to live up to the expectations placed on it every season, and which B.J. Daniels is going to show up for South Florida? - Tom Fornelli
#25 USC vs. Minnesota - ABC/ESPN2, 3:30pm ET
Perhaps it is saying something about how quiet Lane Kiffin has been at USC that one of the more notable things about this game is actually about the opposing coach. The Jerry Kill era begins in earnest on the road and he brings a Minnesota team that barely resembles the one that lost to the Trojans a year ago. The Gophers will compete with dual-threat MarQueis Gray at quarterback and a solid linebacking corps but it will be a tough task to pull of the upset against the firepower of the USC offense. Matt Barkley and Robert Woods are a fun pair to watch while Trojan fans will be nervous to see if the defense looks any better than it did last year. - Bryan Fischer
Michigan vs. Western Michigan - ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 pm ET
It's a new era for Michigan -- again -- and Brady Hoke's charges are going to face a stiff challenge from MAC stalwarts Western Michigan. Yes, seriously. The Wolverines probably won't be suffering for points with Denard Robinson leading the new offense, but the Broncos are more than capable of hanging around in this one, as standout QB Alex Carder should find plenty of opportunities to advance the ball through the air. Keep an eye on this one for some possible afternoon fireworks. - AJ
Ole Miss vs. BYU - ESPN, 4:45pm ET
Life in the SEC West isn't easy for anybody, but if Ole Miss is going to get to six wins and back to a bowl game this year, then this is one of those games the Rebels need to win. Though it's not like BYU is just going to hand the game to them, as the Cougars would like to get their new life as an independent off on the right foot, and what better way to do that than by getting a win against the SEC? - TF
#22 Florida vs. FAU - ESPNU, 7pm ET
The first sign that not everything was well in Gatorland in 2010 was Florida's season opener vs. Miami (Ohio), when Urban Meyer's team gained all of 25 yards through three quarters and wheezed their way to a 34-12 victory. Unfortunately for Meyer, the RedHawks wound up one of the nation's most surprising teams. But just as fortunately for Will Muschamp, his debut as Gator head coach shouldn't be nearly so stressful--FAU has been pegged for the bottom rungs of the Sun Belt, and will be breaking in a new quarterback and six new defensive starters in the Swamp. Most Gator fans should wind up watching quarterback John Brantley rather than the scoreboard, as a steady, solid outing by the much-maligned senior would boost his and his team's confidence considerably. - JH
#1 Oklahoma vs. Tulsa - FX, 8pm ET
The Sooners are the preseason favorite of many people throughout the country, and Saturday night will be their first chance to show people why. This game had a lot more upset potential before the arrest and suspension of Tulsa wide receiver Damaris Johnson, but the possibility that it's a lot closer than most would expect is still there. - TF
#4 LSU vs. #3 Oregon - ABC, 8pm ET
It's not just the game of this year's opening week; it would be the game of every year's opening week. And that's just looking at the rankings of the two teams--add in the Will Lyles drama at both schools, the Tigers' August bar brawl and subsequent Jordan Jefferson suspension, Cliff Harris' and Russell Shepard's respective troubles, Chip Kelly's history of nonconference woes, Jarrett Lee's potential redemption, LaMichael James kicking off his Heisman campaign, the bevy of other All-American candidates on both rosters, and the one-and-only Les Miles, and this game is as intriguing as intriguing gets. For the Ducks, victory may come down to their revamped offensive front giving Darron Thomas enough space to get Kelly's option-game going. Tiger end Sam Montgomery, though, is the kind of elite defensive lineman the Ducks have struggled with even with veteran lines. For LSU, if Lee can avoid turnovers, the Tigers' advantage on both lines-of-scrimmage should eventually prove decisive. But given the Ducks' ball-hawking ways, that's much easier said than done. The one thing we can say for certain: we'll be watching. - JH
#19 Georgia vs. #5 Boise State - ESPN, 8pm ET
Another year, another high profile season opener for the Broncos. Heisman candidate Kellen Moore will lead Boise State into a not-so-neutral Georgia Dome to face the Bulldogs in the annual Chick fil-A Kickoff. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who said this week he hopes to emulate Moore's success, will be trying to make his own statement after an impressive freshman season in 2010. The Georgia-heavy crowd in Atlanta will not be the only uphill battle for the Broncos. Boise State is undersized defensively in comparison to the Bulldogs offensive line, and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is sure to use the 3-4 scheme to put some added pressure on Moore. However, Moore does take care of the ball (74-9 TD:Int ratio last two seasons) and Georgia will be counting on the unproven true freshman Isaiah Crowell to anchor the running game. Get the "LAST" button ready, because you'll want to see both Top 25 showdowns in the primetime slot. - CP
LATE NIGHT SNACK
Hawaii vs. Colorado - ESPN2, 10:15pm ET
This Pac-12 life isn't too bad, is it, Colorado? Your very first game and you get a trip to Hawaii to show for it. Unfortunately for the Buffaloes, they still have to face a Hawaii offense featuring dark horse Heisman candidate Bryant Moniz that puts up points in bunches. This game should be an entertaining way to end your Saturday. - TF
Tags: Aaron Murray, ACC, Adam Jacobi, Akron, Alex Carder, Andre Williams, Auburn, B.J. Daniels, Barrett Trotter, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Boise State, Boston College, Brady Hoke, Braxton Miller, Brett Favre, Brian Kelly, Bryan Fischer, Bryant Moniz, BYU, C-USA, Chase Rettig, Chip Kelly, Chip Patterson, Cliff Harris, Colorado, Conference USA, Damaris Johnson, Dan Persa, Darron Thomas, Denard Robinson, Diondre Borel, FAU, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Gene Chizik, Georgia, Hawaii, Isaiah Crowell, Jarrett Lee, Jeffrey Whitaker, Jerry Hinnen, Jerry Kill, Joe Bauserman, John Brantley, Jordan Jefferson, Kellen Moore, Kenneth Carter, LaMichael James, Lane Kiffin, Les Miles, LSU, Luke Fickell, Luke Kuechly, MAC, MarQueis Gray, Matt Barkley, Michigan, Minnesota, Montel Harris, Mountain West, MWC, Non-BCS, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Pac-12, Robert Woods, Russell Shepard, Sam Montgomery, Saturday Meal Plan, SEC, Skip Holtz, South Florida, Southern Miss, Sun Belt, Todd Grantham, Tom Fornelli, Tulsa, Urban Meyer, USC, Utah State, WAC, Western Michigan, Will Lyles, Will Muschamp
Posted on: September 1, 2011 3:32 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Nearly 48 hours before their season opener, USC will shockingly take the field without a key staff member.
Trojans' secondary coach Willie Mack Garza resigned Thursday afternoon effective immediately citing personal reasons, according to a school statement.
"I stepped down today from my coaching duties at USC," Garza said. "I have some personal issues unrelated to USC that I need to address. I wish the Trojans the best and I am sorry I won't be with them in what I know will be a very successful season."
Garza was entering his second year with the program and followed head coach Lane Kiffin to Los Angeles from Tennessee. The 42-year-old assistant also had coaching stops at Western Michigan, TCU, Tarleton State and North Dakota State before connecting with Kiffin and the Volunteers in 2009. Several USC beat writers confirmed that he was not at practice on Wednesday and that players were informed via text message Thursday morning.
Graduate assistant and former Trojan and NFL defensive back Sammy Knight is expected to take over Garza's responsibilities. USC plays Minnesota at 12:30 PM on Saturday.
Posted on: August 15, 2011 11:00 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 11:54 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Gridiron Gold, a Minnesota Golden Gophers-themed blog for the Minnesota-St. Paul Star Tribune, had a report from the Gophers' first day of fall practices on Saturday. The main gist of the report is that the Gophers' offense was struggling mightily, which didn't even catch Minnesota offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover by surprise. That's fine, because offenses often struggle in a coach's first fall practice with his squad, and there's hardly cause for alarm in Minneapolis here.
That said, though... there might be a fundamental flaw in Minnesota's approach, and one that head coach Jerry Kill can easily fix. Here's a snippet burined lower in the above linked report:
22 starters is way too many starters, guys! Anything over 11 is a penalty (we checked the rule book). Of course there's going to be confusion when there's seven wide receivers all out running routes and two quarterbacks fighting over the football. That's just bad football, everybody knows that.