Posted on: February 16, 2011 7:07 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Even after Tracy Rocker bolted to the Tennessee Titans, Auburn wasn't the only SEC school with an NFL -created hole on its coaching roster this afternoon; if you'll recall, the Carolina Panthers plucked away Georgia assistant Warren Belin two weeks ago.
But as of even later this afternoon, Mark Richt has gotten his team's hole filled, and in impressive fashion :
That's Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald reporting the news on Twitter. Not only is Richt replacing his NFL-bound assistant with an assistant from the NFL, but Kirk Olivadotti isn't the sort of coach who's just had a cup of coffee at the next level; he was Washington's longest-tenured coach , having spent 11 seasons with the team including three (from 2007-2009) as their full-fledged linebackers coach. It's hard to imagine a better fit for an LBs coach in coordinator Todd Grantham's NFL-honed 3-4 than a coach with a decade spent with NFL LBs.
Richt earned plenty of praise for his work this offseason on the recruiting trail. But Olivadotti's hire shows he's not bad at recruiting coaches, either.
Posted on: February 8, 2011 8:36 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
USC athletic director Pat Haden threw his full support behind embattled head coach Lane Kiffin in the wake of a recent report saying he would be named in an NCAA violations case at Tennessee.
AOL Fanhouse reported last Wednesday that Kiffin would be cited for a failure to monitor violation arising from his time as head coach of the Volunteers. Kiffin’s brother-in-law David Reeves, who was an assistant on staff, will reportedly be cited for improper contact with recruits.
“I read the report and I know he can’t comment on it,” Haden said. “I can’t really ask a lot about it because it happened at Tennessee. Right now it really is not a USC issue.
“What I know of Lane Kiffin is he’s been more than compliant with everything we ask. He is doing the right thing and we’ll see how this report turns out, how the investigation goes, what the results are, I just have no idea what’s going to happen. All I know is our (case) took a long time and I don’t know how long this will take.”
The violations stemmed from a group of school hostesses who allegedly made improper contact with several recruits, with Reaves reportedly instructing the hostesses on how to contact the recruits. It was one of several alleged violations committed by Tennessee during Kiffin’s short tenure at the school. Despite the run-ins with the NCAA at his previous school, Haden believes Kiffin is doing everything by the letter of the law at USC.
“I did not hire Lane but in my seven months, he has been very positive in terms of compliance,” Haden said. “The reputation and reality of Lane Kiffin are two entirely different things. I understand what his reputation is but the reality that I’ve dealt with is not that reputation.”
USC was placed on four years of probation by the NCAA for violations stemming from a lack of institutional control following an investigation centered on the school's football and men’s basketball programs. The school is currently appealing several of the sanctions placed on the football team but Haden did not think the recent news would have any effect on the appeal.
“I sure hope not,” he said. “Those are two separate cases and it should not, that’s the Tennessee case. The way these play out, I would expect we’ll hear from the Appeals Committee long before the Tennessee situation is taken care of.
Haden spoke to reporters following a six hour summit designed to discuss issues related to agent awareness and education. Representatives of the Pac-10, SEC, NCAA, NFL and NFL Players Association were in attendance.
Posted on: February 7, 2011 6:31 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Mack Brown must have thought that surely, surely, his staffing overhaul was over after filling his tricky offensive line coaching position with Stacy Searels and watching Signing Day come and go. But now Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman is reporting that with Jeff Fisher out as the Tennessee Titans head coach and Mike Munchak in, the Longhorns may not be out of the woods just yet:
Munchak is considering Longhorns defensive backs coach Jerry Gray to be the Titans’ new defensive coordinator, the American-Statesman has learned.If Gray (pictured) does receive and accept the Titans' offer, it'll be quite the whiplash-inducing career move, having just taken his new job in Austin three weeks ago.
But there's no indication of an offer yet, much less an acceptance from Gray (though Gray -- who has never coached in the collegiate ranks before -- would almost have to consider such an offer, since moving from college position coach to NFL coordinator would represent a substantial jump). And even if Gray does bolt, with Signing Day passed, Brown would have the luxury of working with a much looser deadline to find a replacement.
So it's far from time for Longhorn fans to wish Gray a good-bye, and they won't lose any sleep if they do. But it's a lesson that even for the most powerful of college football programs -- and they don't come any more powerful than programs that have their own network -- recovery from a 5-7 season is never as smooth as they'd like.
Posted on: January 25, 2011 4:10 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The Senior Bowl is one of those unique events that draws interest from both NFL diehards and college football fanatics, the former scoping out the next wave of professional stars and the latter getting one last look at some of the college game's brightest stars. CBS is covering the event accordingly, with plenty of coverage over at our NFL Draft homepage .
But as of this afternoon, there's a pair of prominent names from the SEC 's lines-of-scrimmage you won't see appearing as part of that coverage. One of them is fearsome LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis, a first-team All-SEC selection this season who finished second only to Nick Fairley amongst league tackles in both tackles-for-loss and sacks.
That performance was enough to put Nevis on the first-round radar (if not into the first 32 picks in the current CBS mock draft ). But a "minor foot injury" has hampered his preparations for the draft and today he officially withdrew from taking part in the Senior Bowl. Nevis has continued to work out and will reportedly take full part in the upcoming NFL combine despite the injury, but he will not be able to improve his stock this week in Mobile.
The same will go for Florida offensive lineman Mike Pouncey, who after initially accepting his invitation to participate has now elected not to appear in the Senior Bowl or take part in the week's practices. His reasoning is unclear at this time, but after a disappointing senior season that saw the preseason all-conference selection struggle mightily with a conversion to center from his preferred guard position, it no doubt won't help his standing in the eyes of the scouts.
That doesn't mean he won't find an enthusiastic taker somewhere -- his brother Maurkice Pouncey was a first-round draft choice last year who'll take the field in the Super Bowl for the Pittsburgh Steelers -- but it nonetheless seems like a missed opportunity for the longtime Gator stalwart.
Posted on: January 24, 2011 2:08 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2011 2:22 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Are you an NFL general manager or other team executive? Would you like your team to win its conference and go to the Super Bowl? You, sir, clearly need to start drafting players out of the conference where the real talent is: the mighty MAC.
That's the curious lesson imparted by the active rosters of this year's two Super Bowl participants, as the MAC is more heavily represented among thosee 106 players than any conference aside from the SEC and Big Ten. The complete breakdown of players' conference affiliation is as follows, per the active rosters of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers available here and here , respectively:
SEC: 18 (Steelers: R. Clark, R. Foster, A. Madison, Ma. Pouncey, C. Scott, M. Wallace, H. Ward; Packers: C. Clifton, M. Flynn, B. Goode, H. Green, Q. Johnson, D. Lee, P. Lee, T. Masthay, C. Peprah, S. Wells, J. Wynn)(Note that affiliations are based on 2010 league alignment: Boise State in the WAC, Utah the MWC, Nebraska the Big 12, etc.)
Some bullet points to be made about the breakdown:
Posted on: January 3, 2011 3:24 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's not just the Alabamas and Ohio States of the world who have to deal with early departures for the greener grass of the NFL, unfortunately for teams like Indiana, who despite their 5-7 record appear to be losing second-leading receiver Tandon Doss. According to this report from the Indiana student paper, Doss has already informed new Hoosier head coach Kevin Wilson that he will enter the draft and not return for his senior season in Bloomington.
One the one hand, it's a surprise almost by definition for a player with the label "Indiana's second-leading receiver" to be declaring early; Indiana's never been a hotbed of draftable talent, and Doss's statistics -- 63 receptions, 706 yards, 7 touchdowns -- are nice but don't exactly scream "NFL-ready receiving prospect." On top of that, Wilson's Oklahoma offenses were consistently some of the most explosive in the country, and even without departed senior quarterback Ben Chappell, Doss might have found himself riding the updrafts from a suddenly-buzzworthy Hooiser attack next season.
But on the other: without Chappell and with Wilson learning the ropes as a head coach, there's nothing guaranteed for anyone on the Hooiser offense, particularly not a receiver battling the likes of current No. 1 Damarlo Belcher and rising big-play threat Duwyce Wilson for catches. Doss should be able to turn at least a few pro heads, too, as a 6'3", 200-pound target with hands enough to collect 140 receptions the last two years. He may be entirely correct that another year in Bloomington won't do a thing for his draft stock, while it's always possible an injury or crater year for the offense lowers it past the point of being drafted.
Indiana fans won't be happy. But Doss has as many reasons for going as for staying, and it's hard to blame any prospect in that situation from trying to earn a paycheck as quickly as possible.
Posted on: December 14, 2010 5:28 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
With no bowl giving them a reason to forestall disappointing the fanbase or informing their coaches, a pair of USC juniors have wasted no time in letting the world know where they stand in regards to the NFL draft:
It's never too big a shock when juniors declare early -- NFL paychecks are a little more flexible, spending-wise, than tuition waivers -- and it's even less so considering that the Trojans will still be barred from a bowl game in the 2010 juniors' hypothetical senior seasons. So no one will be too surprised to see players like Jurrell Casey and Tyron Smith depart.
But that doesn't mean it's not a big, big blow for Lane Kiffin's program. Smith has been a productive a two-year starter at right tackle, helping power the Trojans to a top-30 finish in rushing offense and an average of better than five yards per-carry in 2009. But it's Casey's decision that really stings, as he led SC in tackles-for-loss with 11, finished second in sacks, anchored the run defense, made first team All-Pac-10, and was generally agreed by many observers to Monte Kiffin's best defender -- including his teammates, who named him the team MVP .
Worst of all, with the NCAA restrictions on replacing SC's departed scholarship players and the Trojans' 2011 recruiting class limited to only 15 players this spring, finding replacements for Casey and Smith will be exponentially more difficult for Kiffin and Co. than for other top programs when their players leave early. It's simply bad news all the way around for the men of Troy.
Posted on: October 25, 2010 2:26 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Give the NCAA and the NFL this: it sounds like they're legitimately trying to find a solution to the lax enforcement rules that turned this past August into one long "Player Suspended After Agent Gives Him Stuff" headline and North Carolina into college football's biggest cautionary tale.
Because if they aren't trying, last week's NCAA-sponsored conference on "agent issues" convened an awful lot of big names for them to not try together. Representing the NFL: Director of Football Operations Merton Hanks , two of his Vice Presidents, Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian , Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay , and two representatives from the NFL Players Association. Representing the NCAA: conference commissioners Mike Slive and Jim Delany , American Football Coaches Association executive director Grant Teaff , and a whole host of high-ranking NCAA officials. Agents from several high-profile sports management firsm were on hand as well, including none other than the dean of college head coaching agents, Jimmy Sexton .
So what did the meeting of this many powerful minds accomplish? They're not telling us just yet :
[The attendees] continue to make progress in identifying potential solutions.The only truly telling detail in that last paragraph is "potential post-NCAA financial penalties," a nugget that could potentially mean an NFL suspension or NFL-imposed fines when a player enters the draft. Knowing that whatever cash and benefits a player took today could cost him double that in falling post-suspension draft stock or fines might be a successful deterrent, and in any case would provide stronger negative reinforcement than simply being tagged with nebulous "character issues" ... issues that this month's Sports Illustrated cover story on the subject suggest are shared by nearly every top-tier player eligible.
Unfortunately, whatever strategies the group (which will meet again next month) might recommend, it's going to take a while to put them into practice; according to this release , the NCAA won't be able to change its related legislation until January 2012. Judging by how widespread the practice of illegal benefits seems to be and how big a black eye the NCAA's notions of amateurism has absorbed from them this fall, it might do the NCAA good to find some way of expediting that process.
But whether change comes in the short term or the long term, whether that change proves successful or not, bringing together power-brokers with as much pull as Hanks, Slive and Delany, and Sexton shows that the organizations involved aren't just paying the problem lip service. Now we'll see if they've got enough pull to make a difference.