Posted on: December 17, 2010 6:45 pm

Ralph Friedgen on way out at Maryland?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Here's an interesting twist to what's going on with the Maryland football team.  On Friday it was made official that James Franklin, the school's head coach-in-waiting, was leaving to take the head coaching job at Vanderbilt.  Now, depending on how you want to interpret the words of Maryland AD Kevin Anderson, it's starting to sound like Ralph Friedgen could be on the way out at Maryland as well.

During a teleconference on Friday, Anderson was asked about Freidgen's future, to which he replied he'll "sit down and everybody will understand where we're going...with the program.  At this point I'm not going to answer that question."  Which, on it's own, isn't exactly the most encouraging answer you can hear from your boss if your Ralph Friedgen.

What makes it worse?

A month ago Anderson said that Friedgen would be back. Now he's suddenly changed his mind.  To make things even more interesting, even though Friedgen hasn't been let go -- and at this point you almost have to think he will be -- people are already speculating on who his replacement will be.  The popular pick seems to be the one and only Mike Leach.

Would Leach be interested in the gig?  Of course he would be, he's come out and said he'd be interested in any job that was offered to him.  I'd be interested in seeing it happen as well, because it could lead to some teenage mutant ninja pirates, and if there is anything in this world cooler than some kind of hybrid ninja pirate, then I sure as hell haven't thought of it yet.
Posted on: December 17, 2010 11:10 am

Delany: Big Ten will "revisit" division names

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If you're college football fan enough to read this post, you already know about -- and in all likelihood have already made some kind of joke about, bitterly complained about, printed up a crude-but-effectively-hilarious t-shirt about, etc. -- the Big Ten naming their new six-team divisions the "Leaders" division and "Legends" division. It was a decision as clumsy as it was stupid, and his approval of those disasters must rank amongst league commissioner Jim Delany's biggest missteps ... if not squarely at the top.

But to give Delany some modicum of credit, he hasn't simply turned a deaf ear to the torrent of abuse sent in his and his conference's direction since the announcement. Speaking to Chicago radio station WGN yesterday (with some quotes transcribed here ), Delany admitted that the league will "revisit" the "Legends" and "Leaders" after the holiday season:
"We've had enough experience with names and expansion and development of divisions that we know that you rarely get a 90 percent approval rating," Delany told WGN AM-720. "But to get a 90 percent non-approval rating was really surprising. It showed that we didn’t connect with our fans in a way that we wanted to ...

Eventually, we’re going to have to address the issue of whether or not it’s sustainable, but I don’t think that’s a decision for today. We have to listen and we have to be humble about the reactions we’ve gotten ... We’ll try to do a little education, let it breathe a bit and then probably revisit it after the first of the year.”
Given that the "90 percent non-approval rating" is an overstatement unless we're talking about "approval rating amongst Big Ten executives," the revisiting really ought to result in a rebranding; the ACC has played six seasons now following their 12-team split, and a big chunk of college football fans (this blogger included) still struggle to remember which teams are Atlantic Division teams and which are in the Coastal division. Delany can talk about "Legends" and "Leaders" representing the Big Ten's rich history, but to the college football world at large, they're not going to represent a thing other than confusion.

That rebranding would be costly and embarrassing, and for Delany to even consider it does show some measure of necessary humility. But unless he issues the order for full retreat, abandons "Legends" and "Leaders," and spearheads the effort to come up with something, anything more accessible, he's not going to be humble enough for his conference's own good.
Posted on: December 16, 2010 2:17 pm

Report: VT using orange helmets in Orange Bowl

Posted by Adam Jacobi

For all the flak Oregon gets about constantly fiddling with its football uniform, it's worth mentioning that stodgy old Virginia Tech has also developed a penchant for the alternate uniform (not coincidentally, VT is also a Nike-sponsored team). The Hokies have gone with their traditional maroon helmets , white helmets at the ACC Championship, and some really choice matte black helmets against Boise State (even if the rest of the special Pro Combat uniform was a little ridiculous).

Now, it appears the Hokies are ready to add a fourth helmet to their season's total: an orange one, presumably in honor of the Orange Bowl. Here's a picture of the new helmet, according to Virginia Tech blog The Key Play:

Now, we can't confirm that these helmets will be used at the bowl; The Key Play cited an anonymous source for this picture, and Virginia Tech's equipment department refused to confirm or deny the report when contacted today.

The image itself is pretty obviously legitimate, however; it'd be nearly impossible to alter an existing VT helmet in Photoshop while still keeping the details like the reflections in the helmet, and we're confident nobody went through the trouble and expense of physically crafting this helmet for the simple benefit of an online prank. So whether or not Virginia Tech uses the orange helmets on January 3 when it takes on Stanford , the new helmet's at least in its sartorial arsenal, and what better event exists at which to debut it than the Orange Bowl, right?

So what do you think? Thumbs up or down for the orange hat?

Posted on: December 15, 2010 5:29 pm

Mullen's ego too large for Miami?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Now that Miami has finally hired Al Golden to take over for Randy Shannon, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald took to wondering why Golden was the man Miami finally settled on.  Not a crazy question to ask considering the names that came up at times during the coaching search.  Guys like Jon Gruden, Bo Pelini and Jim Harbaugh.

Well, according to one member of the school's board of trustees, the simple fact was that no big name coaches seemed interested in leaving their current jobs for Miami.  Though, according to that same trustee, when it came to Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, it wasn't his lack of interest as much as his giant ego.
A high-level trustee fully aware of how the search was done said, ``We were not going to get a star, and it wasn't a money thing. Why would [marquee coaches] leave any of their great programs'' to take another college job? ``Florida didn't get one either. We hired the best person that wasn't in the top 20.''
The trustee said UM inquired about Stanford's Jim Harbaugh, who wasn't interested, and said Jon Gruden never seemed serious about taking the job. Chris Peterson(sic) gave UM no indication he wanted to leave Boise State. UM thought Nebraska's Bo Pelini had some interest, but he changed his mind. And UM was turned off by Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen's big ego, with one trustee saying he acts like he invented the game.

I know, it's shocking to hear that a coach who has experienced success doing his job might have an ego.  Still, the most shocking thing about this -- if it's true -- is that Miami would take offense to a coach's arrogance.

Miami is the same school that employed Jimmy Johnson, isn't it?  It's the school that walked off the airplane at the 1987 Fiesta Bowl in fatigues and, for most intents and purposes, defined swagger in the world of college football.

That's the school that has now decided a coach may have been a bit too full of himself?  Interesting.
Posted on: December 14, 2010 10:55 am

Report: Franklin set to become Vandy head coach

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

We'll forgive you if you want to take this Washington Post report concerning the vacant Vanderbilt head coaching position with enough salt to make the Morton girl jealous, what with their last effort -- you know, the one that said the Commodores only had to iron out the details before Gus Malzahn took the job -- not exactly standing as a beacon of journalism.

All the same, there's no doubt a reporter writing under a blog named "Terrapins Insider" has better sources on the Maryland end than the Vandy end, and so it's best to pay attention when he writes this:

James Franklin , Maryland’s offensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting, is expected to become the next head football coach at Vanderbilt, according to two sources close to Franklin with knowledge of the negotiations.

Contract details are being negotiated today, and barring an unforeseen road block, Franklin could be announced as Vanderbilt’s head coach today or tomorrow.
This would make a lot of sense for Vandy: Franklin was by all accounts their second choice all along, and if he's not bothered by the school's preference for Malzahn -- and why would he, given that he can now demand a salary at least in the same ballpark as the 'Dores blockbuster offer to Malzahn, reportedly in the neighborhood of a guaranteed $15 million over five years -- there's no reason to start the search over again elsewhere.

It also makes a lot of sense for Franklin, who no doubt had little interest in remaining behind Ralph Friedgen for another year in College Park and will be bagging a hefty raise in the process. Put both sides together, and there's no reason to think the WaPo is crying wolf at us again.

Franklin's departure also probably signals the end of the coach-in-waiting trend for good; with two high-profile desertions out of the coaching on-deck circle this week coming on the heels of last offseason's acrimonious Bobby Bowden departure and the NCAA's restrictions on the coach-in-waiting's recruiting efforts, at this point the potential boost to staff continuity doesn't appear to be worth the headaches that come with it.

Posted on: December 13, 2010 1:18 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2010 1:20 pm

O'Brien not expecting Russell Wilson back

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Sometimes college athletes surprise us, choosing to play football for tuition and a cafeteria meal card over baseball for gobs and gobs of money. Who at this time last year foresaw Kyle Parker turning down a multi-million dollar offer from the Colorado Rockies to quarterback Clemson for another year?

Of course, that Parker has struggled mightily through a massively disappointing season on both the individual and team levels shows the risk of the honorable approach, and why so few choose it. So it makes sense that N.C. State head coach Tom O'Brien sounds already resigned to the Champs Sports Bowl being the last performance of QB Russell Wilson in a Wolfpack uniform:
Wilson, a junior, returned to the Wolfpack after playing pro baseball last summer in the Colorado Rockies organization. But O’Brien said next season will be a different situation.

“When he left the last time he spent the whole spring here and was, the whole time, around us,” O’Brien said. “And he wasn’t being paid [last spring]. He’s being paid now. And they have money. And what do I have to offer? So who knows what’s going to happen."
That's pretty much the situation in a nutshell, isn't it? "They have money. What do I have to offer?" A chance at getting the Wolfpack over the hump and into the ACC championship game and the joy of collegiate football camaraderie, but that's about it. Compared to the riches awaiting a prospect already taken in the MLB draft's fourth round (one also engaged and reportedly about to receive his degree) it might not amount to much.

To be fair, Wilson has stated he wants to play both football and baseball professionally, and another year at N.C State will likely do much to improve his NFL draft stock. But an injury might ruin his chances at both, for good. O'Brien probably knows what he's talking about.

HT: DocSat .

Posted on: December 12, 2010 6:34 pm

Report: Al Golden to accept Miami job

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Well it seems as though all the head coaching vacancies are being filled this weekend.  First Will Muschamp takes over at Florida, then Gus Malzahn moves north to Vanderbilt, and now it seems Miami has found its new head coach as well.  No, it's not Jon Gruden, apparently it's Temple's Al Golden. According to reports, Golden has been offered the Miami job, and is expected to accept it though the deal has not been finalized as of yet.

Golden has been at Temple since 2008, when he took over a program that had gone 0-11 the year before he showed up.  The Owls went 1-11 in his first season at the school, but Golden has turned the program around the last two seasons, winning 19 games.  The Owls went to a bowl game in 2009, and should have gone to another this year, but were left out despite an 8-4 record with a win over Fiesta Bowl-bound UConn.

Golden has always been an excellent recruiter, and now he'll be unleashed upon the recruiting hotbed that is the state of Florida.  Of course, getting talent to Miami hasn't exactly been a problem the last few years.  It will be taking that talent and turning it into victories that will be Golden's biggest task in South Beach.

There is no word on whether or not Golden will take over in time to coach the Hurricanes in the Sun Bowl against Notre Dame.
Posted on: December 11, 2010 1:50 pm

Your newest candidate at Miami: Marc Trestman

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

There's a new hat in the Miami coaching search's ring according to the Miami Herald , and it's not one most observers probably saw coming: Marc Trestman , current head coach of two-time defending Grey Cup champions Montreal Alouettes .

Not many major college programs have plucked their coaches out of the CFL , but there's a reason (besides his immediate success in America's hat ) the Hurricanes would take a long look at Trestman; he began his coaching career in Coral Gables, serving as a highly successful quarterbacks coach to Miami legend Bernie Kosar , a current university trustee.

Of course, that the latest Kosar was weaing the Hurricane orange was 1984 should tell you something about how many times Trestman has been around the block. He left Miami (with a UM law degree) that same season, embarked on an NFL coaching career, and hasn't spent more than two seasons (both producing iffy results as the N.C. State offensive coordinator in 2005-2006) in the college game since. The other finalists for the 'Canes job according to the Herald -- Randy Edsall, Al Golden, and perhaps Tommy Tuberville, on whom reports seem to differ -- are all substantially more involved with NCAA football.

But no matter how frayed they might be, Trestman's Miami ties (he also spent time with the Dolphins ), support from Kosar, and CFL success appear to have him in contention. Things can and probably will change by the end of the day, but for now, this is a candidacy that has to be taken seriously.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com