Tag:Adam Jacobi
Posted on: December 12, 2011 2:19 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 2:20 pm

UCLA withholds checks after missed workouts

Posted by Adam Jacobi

UCLA is gearing up for a bowl date against Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, a game set for New Year's Eve. And although UCLA and Illinois shouldn't be imbued with a heightened awareness of fighting hunger by the invitation any more than Texas A&M and Northwestern should be considered auto repair enthusiasts by dint of appearing in the Maaco Car Care Bowl, there is still no shortage of irony that UCLA is apparently causing hunger in some of its own football players this month.

Here's how the Los Angeles Times reported this story:

Some UCLA football players and members of the coaching staff were at odds Sunday after bowl game checks meant to help with living expenses were withheld. 

Some players did not receive checks for failing to attend what they called voluntary workouts during finals week, according to one parent who asked not to be identified because it could affect his son. Players said they use the money to buy food, as university services are shut down after the quarter ends.

UCLA spokesperson Nick Ammazzalorso said the players had been notified in advance that the checks would be withheld, and that the players in question had also not filled out academic paperwork. The crux of the matter, however, appears to be that the coaching staff and players disagreed on whether the workouts during finals week were mandatory or not, and that the consequence of missing a finals week practice was to withhold necessary living expenses.

As for how well-needed these checks were, the coaches eventually issued the checks after realizing that not doing so would cause financial hardship -- yes, that required a realization -- but not before two Bruins took to Twitter to complain about their hunger.

"We are being held from our checks because we chose not to participate in voluntary workouts," defensive back Randall Carroll wrote on Twitter. "Honestly, [I] don't know how I'm going to eat these few days."

Linebacker Aramide Olaniyan also posted on Twitter account, saying in part "My stomach [is] growling tonight."

This story's far from over at this point; UCLA should probably make a clarification on whether the workouts in question were in fact mandatory, and a statement from the NCAA on whether UCLA's initial handling of the situation was appropriate in the NCAA's eyes. Perhaps it was, and perhaps all bowl teams are operating under similar guidelines. Now would be the time to make that clear, though, because if all fans have is this account of the UCLA program, it's hard not to come to the conclusion that something is dreadfully awry in the way athletes in need are treated.

Now, if that seems like an exaggeration, consider that had Olaniyan or Carroll gotten a free meal from a sympathetic restaurateur who didn't want to see the two young men go hungry, that would be an impermissible benefit and would likely cost the two players their eligibility for at least the upcoming bowl game. Choosing between eligibility and dinner seems like an awfully heavy consequence of missing a workout and/or not filling out a minor piece of paperwork, does it not?

Posted on: December 11, 2011 6:34 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2011 9:46 pm

Iowa DC Norm Parker retires after 44-year career

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Kirk Ferentz is the most tenured coach in the Big Team, and as long as he's been the head coach at Iowa, he's had Norm Parker as his defensive coordinator. Until now. On Sunday, Iowa announced that Parker, 68, would retire after the Insight Bowl, where the Hawkeyes are set to face Oklahoma.

"I would like to announce that the 2011 Insight Bowl will be my last game as a football coach at Iowa," said Parker in a statement released Sunday. "I would like to personally thank [Iowa athletic director] Gary Barta, Kirk Ferentz, the coaches, and players at Iowa, along with the fantastic fans. The entire Hawkeye community has been great. My wife Linda, and all the members of our family, were very pleased to be members of the Hawkeye family."

Parker's career as an assistant coach in the NCAA dates all the way back to 1968, when he was an offensive line coach for Eastern Michigan. Parker switched to the defensive side of the ball as a defensive line coach with Minnesota in 1972, and he's been a linebackers coach and/or defensive coordinator for the last 34 years with stops in Illinois, East Carolina, Michigan State, Vanderbilt, and finally Iowa. 

"Norm's contributions to our team the past 13 years are deeply appreciated, as he has had a tremendous impact on our program," said Ferentz on Sunday. "Norm is a superb defensive coach and has served as a strong role model and mentor for all of our players and our entire staff." 

Parker's health has been declining for the past few years, and in 2010 complications from diabetes forced doctors to amputate Parker's right leg below the knee. Parker was fitted with a prosthesis, and he coached games this year from the press box while using a golf cart to get around at practices.

The one aspect of Parker's defenses that he's best known for is a steadfast trust in his base 4-3 defense, and a blitz call was about as rare as a mooing steak in Iowa City. Still, the Hawkeyes were almost always in the Top 20 in total defense under Parker, and this year's mediocre numbers (eighth in the Big Ten in both total defense and scoring defense) were highly anomolous. And yet, Parker was still named the Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) after this season, and will be honored in January at the AFCA's annual convention.

Iowa has not hired a replacement for Parker yet, nor is it known whether the Hawkeyes will seek an outside candidate or promote a defensive coordinator from within, such as longtime Ferentz assistant Phil Parker. Kirk Ferentz has never had to replace a coordinator at Iowa (his OC, Ken O'Keefe, has also been in that role since Day 1), so there's no precedent from which one might glean an idea of what Ferentz will do here. Mike Stoops, the former Arizona head coach and Oklahoma defensive coordinator, is still available; Stoops played football at Iowa and was an assistant there for five years under Hayden Fry.

No timetable has been announced for the hiring of Parker's successor.
Posted on: December 10, 2011 9:44 pm

2011 Heisman Trophy voting numbers breakdown

Posted by Adam Jacobi

On Saturday night, the Heisman Trophy was awarded to Baylor junior quarterback Robert Griffin III. RG3, as he's known to Baylor faithful and now the rest of the nation, collected 405 first-place votes to finish with 1,687 total voting points, well ahead of the runner-up, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck had 247 first-place votes and 1,407 total voting points.

The key to Griffin's victory in the voting was his performance in the South region -- Alabama RB Trent Richardson's home territory -- where RG3 led all contenders with 303 voting points. Richardson was second with 256 points there, and Luck was third with 182 points. That region alone accounted for nearly half of Griffin's margin of victory over Luck, and it helped stave Richardson off as a serious threat to winning the Heisman. Of course, Griffin also cleaned up in his home Southwest region, but it was his ability to win regions that he wasn't the home favorite of that landed RG3 the coveted Heisman.

Here's the final national vote ranking:

  1. Robert Griffin III, Baylor QB: 405 first-place votes, 1,687 total points
  2. Andrew Luck, Stanford QB: 247 first-place votes, 1,407 total points
  3. Trent Richardson, Alabama RB: 138 first-place votes, 978 total points
  4. Montee Ball, Wisconsin RB: 22 first-place votes, 348 total points
  5. Tyrann Mathieu, LSU DB: 34 first-place votes, 327 total points
  6. Matt Barkley, USC QB: 11 first-place votes, 153 total points
  7. Case Keenum, Houston QB: 10 first-place votes, 123 total points
  8. Kellen Moore, Boise State QB: 6 first-place votes, 90 total points
  9. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin QB: 4 first-place votes, 52 total points
  10. LaMichael James, Oregon RB: 5 first-place votes, 48 total points

And here are the regional breakdowns:

FAR WEST (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming)

  1. Luck: 315 points
  2. Griffin: 220 points
  3. Richardson: 137 points

MID-ATLANTIC (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia)

  1. Griffin: 254 points
  2. Luck: 248 points
  3. Richardson: 168 points

MIDWEST (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin)

  1. Griffin: 272 points
  2. Luck: 220 points
  3. Richardson: 125 points

NORTHEAST (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont)

  1. Griffin: 257 points
  2. Luck: 254 points
  3. Richardson: 160 points 

SOUTH (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee) 

  1. Griffin: 303 points
  2. Richardson: 256 points
  3. Luck: 182 points

SOUTHWEST (Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas)

  1. Griffin: 381 points
  2. Luck: 188 points
  3. Richardson: 132 points
Posted on: December 8, 2011 6:14 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 6:17 pm

Ohio State hires Iowa State OC Tom Herman

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Urban Meyer's staff at Ohio State is starting to take shape. On Thursday afternoon, FootballScoop.com reported that Meyer hired Iowa State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tom Herman. Sources close to the situation have since confirmed that report to CBSSports.com. Herman is expected to be named the quarterbacks coach at Ohio State.

Herman is the first outside coach to be hired to Meyer's staff. Meyer announced at his introductory press conference that Luke Fickell -- currently the interim coach through the Gator Bowl, when the Buckeyes meet Florida -- would be retained at Ohio State in an as yet undetermined role. Also, first-year receivers coach Stan Drayton has been retained, though he may switch to coaching running backs. Taver Johnson, OSU's fifth-year cornerbacks coach, will also be retained. Linebackers coach Mike Vrabel's future with the Ohio State program is still under consideration by Meyer.

As for Meyer's new quarterbacks coach, Herman is relatively young (36 years old); he graduated cum laude from California Lutheran in 1997 and has been an assistant coach ever since. He has been Iowa State's offensive coordinator for three years, as he was brought in with Paul Rhoads before the 2009 season. Under Herman, the Iowa State offense has scored 20.5, 23.7, and 23.6 points per game in those three years. Previously, Herman was the offensive coordinator at Rice for two years, and he spent time as an assistant at two other schools in Texas for the six season prior to that. Herman also spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Texas after graduating from college.

What do you think of this hire? Tell us your thoughts at our new Eye On College Football Facebook page. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview 

Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:05 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 5:07 pm

What should we rename the Big East?

Posted by Eye On College Football staff

With the news coming from CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy that the Big East was expanding to include Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU and UCF in 2013, one thing became immediately and abundantly clear: the Big East cannot be called the Big East anymore. We've sat idly by and let the Big 12 have 10 teams while the Big Ten expanded to 12, and we're just not going to abide that conference name dishonesty any longer.

But we're solution-minded folks, one and all, so here are some helpful suggestions from us as to what the Big East ought to be renamed:

  • League of Extraordinary Liberty Bowls

  • Marinatto's Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

  • Frequent Flyer Conference

  • Manifest Destiny Conference

  • Everything But The Crystal Football Conference

  • Etc. Etc. Conference

Vote! Vote at once, you knaves!

Posted on: December 6, 2011 10:52 am

BCS bowl picks and more: Who Do You Like?

Posted by Chip Patterson

Every week the CBSSports.com college football staff offers our picks straight up and against the spread in the Expert Picks. But we aren't the only ones who get to offer our opinions on the outcome of the weekend's best games. In our weekly "Who Do You Like" Picks, we give you - the readers - a chance to weigh in on how you think the upcoming slate of games will play out.

You can see the results of the voting every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on Inside College Football, airing on the CBS Sports Network.

Come debate your picks for the week with other college football fans at the new Eye On College Football Facebook page. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
Posted on: December 5, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 8:24 pm

Cliff Harris dismissed from Oregon football team

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Cliff Harris' career at Oregon has come to an end. The former All-American was dismissed from the Ducks on Monday, according to a statement released by the football team.  

According to a report in The Fresno Bee on Monday night, Harris was cited for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in Fresno, which led to his release.

Harris had a dynamite sophomore season with Oregon, earning consensus All-American honors as a punt returner (and also being a second-team AP All-American as a cornerback); he was on several preseason All-American lists and was expected to be one of the premier players in the Pac-12 this season.

The marijuana citation was not the first time Harris found himself on the wrong side of the law at Oregon. Harris had several driving incidents plague him throughout his time in Eugene, and he was suspended twice in 2011 for rather flagrant disregard of traffic laws; Harris was cited for going 118 miles an hour in June, and that led to a suspension that kept Harris out of the Ducks' season-opening 40-27 loss to LSU.

A subsequent citation in late October this year  -- for driving with a suspended license, without a seatbelt, and without valid insurance -- led to an indefinite suspension that has lasted to this day. Now, head coach Chip Kelly is content to move on without his star defensive back.

Harris logged just nine tackles and an interception (albeit one returned for 50 yards, against Arizona State) in the six games he played in the 2011 season. He leaves as Oregon's career leader in yards per punt return and one of just four consensus All-Americans in the program's history.

Here is the statement from the program in full:

University of Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris has been dismissed from the Ducks’ football program for a violation of team rules, according to the Ducks’ Head Coach Chip Kelly Monday.

Harris was suspended indefinitely on Oct. 24 and has since been prohibited from all football activities, missing Oregon’s last five games of the regular season in addition to last Friday’s Pac-12 Conference Championship.

The Fresno, Calif., junior had been credited with nine tackles and one interception in six games this season after missing the season-opening loss to LSU while serving another suspension.

The 2010 consensus All-American finishes his Oregon career with 61 tackles in 27 appearances, eight interceptions for one touchdown, and returned 38 punts for a 16.2-yard average and four more scores.
Posted on: December 5, 2011 4:23 pm

Oh yeah, Russell Wilson is still very good

Posted by Adam Jacobi

I am back safely from Indianapolis, where I covered the Big Ten Championship Saturday night. Wisconsin beat Michigan State; I don't know if any of you heard. It was in the papers and everything. Anyway, here's my quick recap, and my game column is here. That was seriously one of the best games I've ever seen live, and to try to decide if it's THE BEST would basically force me to try to think negatively about it and the other great games I've witnessed, and I've got no desire to do that. So it's just one of the best and that's that.

Past that, one aspect of the game I didn't touch on nearly enough was Russell Wilson's second half. All year long, the knock on Wilson was that he was undoubtedly talented, but also the beneficiary of a light workload and a running game that preoccupied defenders. And sure enough, look at his usage over the course of the year and it's far lower than the other top-flight quarterbacks. There's a reason Wilson's not the primary Heisman candidate on that team, after all.  

So with MSU holding a 29-21 halftime lead and the Montee Ball Express derailing, Wilson had to step up in a big way in order to keep Wisconsin's Rose Bowl dreams alive. And that's exactly what he did. Wilson went 12-15 for 157 yards and two touchdowns in the second half, frequently keeping plays alive by moving his feet and buying time. That 4th down play on Wisconsin's winning drive shown in the picture above -- where Wilson was flushed from the pocket, stood tall with Max Bulloughs bearing down on him, and delivered a 36-yard strike across the field to the one spot only Jeff Duckworth could make the catch -- was a play that very, very few quarterbacks in college football can make.

Wilson won't be a Heisman finalist, and thanks to an unreal crop of quarterbacks he won't be winning any major national awards at the end of the year, but he was an absolutely phenomenal one-year acquisition* for Wisconsin and without him the Badgers would almost certainly not be Rose Bowl bound this season. So that's better than getting a trophy or three at the end of the year, in my mind.

Past that, man, what a game. I know I keep saying that, but what else is there to say? It's taken only two years and three games between them, but all of a sudden Michigan State-Wisconsin is the most must-watch matchup in the Big Ten. 

*Let's just call that what it is: Wisconsin acquired Wilson for a year. I realize that there are academic underpinnings to the graduate-year transfer and they're not irrelevant to the collegiate aspect of a student-athlete's time in the NCAA, but from the football perspective it's just a one-year acquisition. I don't find anything wrong with that, personally; from an academic standpoint, you don't want athletes transferring every year because it's usually detrimental to their chances of graduating on a normal schedule. But the one-year period of ineligibility after transfers isn't to protect academic progress, because if it were it would apply to transfers between different athletic divisions. It's so coaches have an easier job hanging onto their players, which is to say it reduces a athlete's agency in where he plays from year to year -- all while coaches have been free to switch jobs year to year without consequence and while athletes' scholarships are only just now about to move to multi-year agreements. So compared to all that, it's hard to muster one ounce of distaste for anybody doing what Wilson (or Jeremiah Masoli last year) did. End tangent.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com