Posted on: February 11, 2011 5:06 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.
FOUR LINKS ...
1. When last we left new Texas secondary coach Jerry Gray, he was being considered by new Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak for the Titans' defensive coordinator position. As of this afternoon, that consideration has become an interview --unless he's already decided to stay at Austin.
2. The following cartoon was found in a time capsule in Tuscaloosa and is more than 100 years old:
Too bad that after nine months, other than knowing it's some kind of smack talk in the direction of Auburn's football and baseball teams, no one really knows what it means . Elsewhere at Alabama, the snow gives some students the chance to memorialize Nick Saban's championship season ahead of time.
3. It's been a rough couple of weeks for Arizona State; the Sun Devils signed one of the smallest, most uninspiring recruiting classes in the Pac-12 on Signing Day, then saw defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Grady Stetz leave to become the defensive line coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past Tuesday.
4. Texas got a late addition to its 2011 recruiting haul when prep All-American linebacker Tevin Jackson of Garland (Tx.) was cleared by the NCAA after a transcript issue prevented him from enrolling in 2010. Jackson will enroll in June and will have the standard five-years-to-play-four.
AND THE CLOUD ...
You know this already, but Mark Richt really is a nice guy ... The SEC is deciding exactly how much the various transgressions of the cowbell rule will cost Mississippi State ... Don't expect an unbiased, evenhanded account from an author who considers Mike Leach "one of the most successful college football coaches in history," but nonetheless a book on Leach's firing is on the way ... Maryland's recruits weren't thrilled over former defensive coordinator Don Brown's departure ... Negotiations on UNLV's on-campus domed stadium (which we mentioned a little while back) have officially been given the green light .
Posted on: February 11, 2011 1:00 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
When Larry Scott was named commissioner of the then-Pac-10 in summer 2009, more than one observer wondered how involved in football an East Coast-bred administrator whose only previous sports experience came in women's tennis would really be.
It didn't take long for him to give us an answer, aggressively reshaping the league into the Pac-12 and by many accounts nearly convincing Texas to become the tentpole for a 16-team superconference. Scott has already taken one step to extricate the league from its less-than-optimal television contracts, signing a lucrative deal with Fox for the new conference title game. And now two stories out of the West Coast show that Scott's not slowing down his proactive ways anytime soon.
The first: under the direction of former NFL official (and Fox replay-challenge expert) Mike Pereira, the Pac-12 is overhauling its football officiating programs , starting with the departure of longtime Coordinator of Football Officiating Dave Cutaia and continuing with ... well, we're not sure, but it sounds great:
"Like in other high priority areas, we have taken a fresh look at our program, and will be implementing a series of changes that are forward-looking, innovative and take our program to the next level," Scott said. "The game and level of play is always improving, so it's essential that in the critical area of officiating, the program continue to evolve and improve as well."Again, what this "series of changes" entails specifically -- what "adjustments" will be "implemented" when the season begins -- are still a question mark. But given the occasionally laughable errors made by Pac-12 officials the past few years and certain ethically dubious officiating policies , it's clear there's plenty of areas that need the improvement.
But it's the other story that really illustrates how involved with his conference's member schools Scott wants to be. Remember when Washington's athletic director called Oregon's academics "an embarrassment"? Per the Seattle Times, Scott tried to arrange for U-Dub to issue an apology by writing their apology for them :
On the Monday following the Nov. 6 game, Scott sent to UW interim president Phyllis Wise what was referred to as "our suggestion" of a one-paragraph statement UW could release, apologizing for the incident ...
When discussing the most powerful commissioners in college football, the first two names that come to mind are Mike Slive and Jim Delany. But if Scott remains this insistent on managing his league's affairs in this kind of detail as well as leading the charge on issues like TV contracts and expansion, he might find himself in Slive's and Delany's company before too much longer.
Posted on: February 10, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2011 5:47 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
After finishing the 2010 season ranked near the bottom of the conference in most defensive categories, UCLA fired defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough on December 18. Nearly two months later, it seems like the search for his replacement may be finally nearing an end. Multiple media outlets are reporting that Kentucky defensive coordinator Steve Brown will likely be the man for the job, and the announcement could come in the next few days. The Los Angeles Times confirmed that Brown interviewed on Tuesday, and Scott Reid of the Orange County Register believes the Oregon alum could be introduced in the near future.
UCLA supposedly had their man lined up after head coach Rick Neuheisel interviewed Rocky Seto, Pete Carroll's defensive coordinator from Seattle and USC. Neuheisel had already struck out with San Diego State's Rocky Long (promoted to head coach) and Stanford's Vic Fangio (now defensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers). Unfortunately after Seto's interview, the coach went public with the information thinking the job was his to lose.
It was, and he did.
UCLA was unhappy that Seto decided to break the news himself and the deal quickly disappeared. Now, after all the twists and turns things are finally coming into place for the Bruins.
The Bruins did make one hire on Wednesday, announcing Nevada's Jim Mastro as UCLA's new F-backs/running game coach. Mastro will be counted on to improve the pistol attack run by the Bruins in 2010.
Posted on: February 10, 2011 12:02 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Have you ever been to both Utah and Los Angeles? Even if you haven't, you probably don't need to be told that there's a slight difference in the culture and speed of both places. There's also a difference in the cost of living, which would seem to be good news for new Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Chow recently left the same position at UCLA to return to Utah, and it seems he took a healthy pay cut to do so.
Even though he is still making more than the next highest paid assistant, Norm Chow still took a big cut in salary when he joined Utah's staff.
Chow will receive $275,000, annually, according to his contract which was finalized Wednesday. The contract runs from Jan. 25, 2011 to June 30, 2013.
Chow's salary is far from the $640,000 package he was earning at UCLA, but still way above Utah's next highest paid assistant, defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake who receives a base salary of $170,000.That's a 58% pay cut that Chow has taken, though there are some bonuses worked in to his deal. He'd get a $20,000 bonus should Utah make a BCS game, and also gets a "company" car and tickets to home and road games. Though unless that company car is worth $400,000, or the prices of Utah tickets have skyrocketed, it's still a drastic change.
Of course, so is no longer having to work under Rick Neuheisel.
Posted on: February 9, 2011 12:56 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Pac-12 has a lot of changes to make this football offseason as it prepares to add Colorado and Utah to the fold. It's not just the football issues, either, as the conference had to come up with new divisions, find a place for a conference championship game and redo some schedules. No, there's also the more menial tasks like ordering new polos with the new -- and awesome -- Pac-12 logo on them.
The conference also has to buy a new domain name for its website, and it would like to buy Pac12.com. There's just one problem, the domain is already owned and the owner isn't interested in selling.
A dedicated fan of the deceased rapper Tupac Shakur currently owns the domain. Shakur was shot four times and killed in a Las Vegas incident in 1996. The shooting was one of the key events that ended a coastal feud between rappers, but some fans still refuse to believe he was killed and await his return.
The conference is taking steps to gain ownership of the domain, which offers no content other than a widget to MP3 downloads of full albums by Shakur or single-song downloads on Amazon. Last week the conference filed a claim against the domain owner with the World Intellectual Property Forum, which prompted the domain owner to throw up the Amazon widget after reportedly sitting on the domain name with no Web page set up.So it seems that it's all eyes on the domain owner. It won't be easy for the Pac-12 to pry the domain name from his hands, as he got his mind made up, and wants to know how do they want it. Do not get angry at him, Pac-12, because only god can judge him and he ain't mad at cha. So holla at him if you want, he ain't hard to find, so hit him up.*
*Who knew you could write an entire paragraph based on song titles off of one Tupac album. He really was a genius!
Posted on: February 8, 2011 4:59 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
No one -- well, not many people -- would blame a head football coach for taking a little personal time following Signing Day. After the long grind of fall camp bleeding into the season followed immediately by the sprint to the recruiting finish line, it's a rare human being who wouldn't have his batteries almost totally drained.
But that blameslessness assumes the coach wasn't leaving important unfinished business behind him when he went on vacation. And for an unstable-looking program coming off of a 4-8 disaster of a season, multiple vacancies on the coaching staff most definitely qualify as "unfinished business." But according to a candidate for one of those vacancies at UCLA, that hasn't stopped Rick Neuheisel from jetting off to warmer climes:
Nevada running backs coach Jim Mastro interviewed for and was offered a position on the UCLA football staff Friday, but said he won't make a decision on whether he's leaving the Wolf Pack for at least a week.Remember that "running game coordinator," the position for which Mastro is interviewing, isn't the only or even the most important open position on the Bruins staff; that would be defensive coordinator, the job for which Neuheisel had reportedly already hired former USC assistant Rocky Seto before Seto's premature Facebook announcement (and according to many , fan-related protests based on Seto's Trojan past) led to his dismissal.
And as Bruin fans already irritated by the Seto fiasco are bitterly pointing out , while Neuheisel enjoys the Cabo sunshine, other schools are in the process of potentially hiring one of the precious few brand-name coordinators still on the market.
If his team hadn't gone 2-7 in its conference, if the Bruins' recruiting class hadn't been the program's weakest in years, if he had all his staff's i's dotted and t's crossed, then no one would begrudge Neuheisel a little time off. But given the state of affairs in which he has left his team, it's hard not to imagine him playing a fiddle on that Mexico beach as his program burns a hole to the bottom of the Pac-12 .
Posted on: February 7, 2011 1:55 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Last week UCLA hired Rocky Seto to be its new defensive coordinator. Seto, who used to be an assistant at USC under Pete Carroll, was pretty excited about the new job. In fact, he was so excited about it, that he even announced that he'd gotten the job on his Facebook page so all of his friends could click "Like" and leave comments saying "Congrats! xoxo"
Well, UCLA did not click like. In fact, if there had been a button that said "Fire," they'd have clicked that. Since there isn't a "Fire" button, the Bruins did the only other thing they could do. They just fired Seto.
Yes, it seems that UCLA took umbrage to Seto announcing that he was the school's new defensive coordinator on Facebook, as I guess UCLA still considers itself a MySpace stalwart. Apparently this caused a lot of fan backlash amongst the faithful who had been hoping that Randy Shannon or somebody else would get the job over the inexperienced Seto.
Whatever the case, let this be a lesson to the rest of you. Facebook is to be used for nothing more than posting party pictures, pictures of your children, and helping you remember all of your friend's birthdays. That's it. If you have to play that farm game, fine, but there are a lot better games out there that you could be wasting your time with.
Posted on: February 5, 2011 4:24 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Colorado finds itself in one of the bigger financial pickles in major college football, needing to pay: a buyout to the Big 12 after having secured their jump to the Pac-12; any and all buyouts for dismissed head coach Dan Hawkins and his former assistant coaches; the salaries of new coach Jon Embree and his assistants under their new contracts and potential signing bonuses. Not only that, but the Buffs will have to do all of that on a budget that was already described as one of BCS football's most stretched.
But the Buffs got some good news this week, as Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said that though the Buffs would have to wait a year to get a full share of the conference's television payouts, their first season in their new league home will net the program something (emphasis added):
Scott added -- and clearly, the Buffs brass would agree -- that the Buffs will eventually profit by making the move, since the money shelled out by ESPN for the new Texas network suggests that the market will pay handsomely for the new Pac-12 contract (which will go into effect for the 2012-2013 season once signed). And thanks to the initial agreement with Fox, Colorado can even pick up "several million dollars" while they wait.
Until then, the Buffs are still going to be digging out of a financial hole, one that's going to make an already-difficult transition to the Pac-12 under a new coaching staff even more difficult. But they can take heart that even if their new conference brethren "didn't guarantee them" a cent for 2011, they appear nonetheless committed to helping the Buffs out of that hole as best they can.