Posted on: March 15, 2011 12:28 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The quarterback position was a bit confusing in Gainesville last season. John Brantley was the starting quarterback for the Gators last season, but to be honest, he didn't really fit the position in the team's spread offense. While Brantley has an arm, he's not exactly the dual-threat you look for in a quarterback in such an offense. Which is why Trey Burton and Jordan Reed also spent some time at the position, in what was a three-headed monster that seemed to spend more time biting the Gators than the opposition.
Well, now that Urban Meyer has moved into a studio, and Steve Addazio is gone, Will Muschamp has brought in Charlie Weis and a brand new offense. Now, with spring practice nearing, the Gators are making some room at the quarterback position. While John Brantley is still atop the team's depth chart, neither Burton or Reed will find their names listed under QB, as they've both been moved. Reed is listed as a tight end and Burton is at fullback, though he'll play other positions.
Which makes you think that the road has been cleared for Brantley to win the job, but he still has plenty of competition. Along with rising sophomore Tyler Murphy, there are the two members of Florida's latest recruiting class to contend with in Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett. Driskel is currently third on the depth chart, and could challenge Brantley in camp.
Will Muschamp said on Monday that while Brantley would seem to have an advantage over the rest due to his experience, the depth chart right now is just a starting point. Nobody is locked in to any position.
Still, I'd imagine that Brantley will wind up winning the job. He's better suited for the pro-style offense that Charlie Weis will be running in Gainesville than the one he ran under Meyer and Addazio.
Posted on: February 26, 2011 12:42 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Earlier this week we found out that Jon Embree and Eric Bienemy, the head coach and offensive coordinator at Colorado, both made the same base salary of $250,000. Which, compared to most college coaches at BCS conferences around the country, isn't a lot of money. Still, it was somewhat refreshing to see that a head coach like Embree could put his ego aside and accept the same salary as one of his assistants.
Still, if you happen to be Jon Embree or Eric Bienemy, first of all, thanks for reading. Second of all, stop reading here.
Newly hired Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis signed a three-year contract with the school worth $2.625 million, making him the richest assistant under coach Will Muschamp.
Weis, who came from the Kansas City Chiefs, will get $765,000 this year, then $865,000 annually over the next two years. He also received a $100,000 signing bonus and, like all Gators football coaches, gets a $10,000 supplement for wearing Nike gear.
He also will be provided with a vehicle.That's a lot of money to be an assistant coach. Though, it is understandable. Florida is a bit more invested in its football program than Colorado, and unlike Embree and Bienemy, Weis does have head coaching experience. Plus, since he spent last season in the NFL, it's going to take some money to have him return to college in the same position.
What makes this all somewhat crazier is that Weis' salary at Florida is actually more than the base pay he received while at Notre Dame. In his final year in South Bend, Weis made $650,000. Of course, that doesn't include the money he got from Adidas and for personal appearances, which brought his income to roughly $2.5 million a year.
Anyway, the moral of this story is that you should become a head coach or coordinator on the college level. Because even the low-paid ones earn $250,000 a year.
Posted on: February 4, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2011 2:38 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
When John Brantley struggled operating Urban Meyer's run-first spread offense last season, Florida's coaching braintrust turned more and more towards "athletes" Jordan Reed and Trey Burton to handle the quarterback position, and not without some success; Burton's 171 yards-from-scrimmage played a major role in the Gators' 34-31 overtime victory over Georgia, for instance.
But with new head coach Will Muschamp taking his cues from mentor Nick Saban's more traditional, pro-style offensive philosophy -- and Charlie Weis hired to deliver exactly that -- it's no surprise that the aerially-limited Reed and Burton won't be taking snaps any longer. Or at least, not on anything resembling a regular basis, since Muschamp confirmed this week that he's considering permanent position switches for both :
Muschamp said he has contemplated moving Trey Burton to safety or cornerback and might move Jordan Reed to tight end.Muschamp would be well-advised to make good on the "integral part" promise for both players, as both Burton (pictured) and Reed flashed playmaking ablity in 2010 that few other Gators -- if any, aside from running back Jeff Demps -- would be able to duplicate.
At the same time, two factors make Reed's and Burton's moonlighting at quarterback a luxury the Gators can afford to do without. One is that Weis's under-center, pocket-passing attack should be a much, much better fit for the strong-armed Brantley's talents than Meyer's spread. The second is true freshman quarterback Jeff Driskel; his letter of intent may still be hot off the fax, but his eye-popping performance at the Under Armour All-American Game and enrollment in time for spring camp suggest he could take over the reins as soon as this fall, if need be.
Of course, with Driskel still a true freshman (no matter how talented) and Brantley coming off of one of college football's most disappointing seasons, the Gators may still need some kind of fallback plan, and at the very least they're going to need every offensive hand they've got fully on deck to help their quarterbacks. Quarterbacks or not, you haven't heard the last of Burton and Reed by a long shot.
Posted on: January 31, 2011 5:47 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
The Texas Longhorns have had a lot of turnover on their coaching staff this offseason. Some changes were made by choice (Greg Davis for Brian Harsin) and others by necessity (Will Muschamp leaving for Florida). Ironically, the one change that Mack Brown wanted to make was altered dramatically thanks to the change he didn't want.
According to Kirk Bohls in The Statesman, Mack Brown's initial choice to replace Greg Davis as offensive coordinator was Charlie Weis, but then Muschamp left for Gainesville and things got complicated.
Mack Brown's first choice for offensive coordinator, I am told by two sources, was Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, and the Texas head coach all but considered it a done deal that the former Notre Dame head coach would join his staff in Austin. However, Weis' high school senior son bonded with Longhorns defensive coordinator Will Muschamp and had planned to learn under him at Texas, until Muschamp bolted for Florida and the entire Weis family followed.Texas would then move on to Brian Harsin, who isn't exactly a terrible consolation prize given the success of the offenses he ran at Boise State. Still, the fact that Brown thought he had Weis locked up, and then lost him and Muschamp to Florida is somewhat of an apt description for Texas football in 2010 overall. The only thing missing from the equation was a Garrett Gilbert interception.
Posted on: January 5, 2011 12:06 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2011 12:07 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
If the Urban Meyer spread-option regime was still in charge at Florida, no one would bat an eye at John Brantley exploring his transfer options. (There's probably no truth to the rumor they've added a picture of him running the zone read to the Dictionary of American Slang under "square peg in a round hole," but we wouldn't blame them if they had.) But with Will Muschamp heralding a new offensive era in Gainesville and Charlie Weis, the coach that turned Brady Quinn and Jimmy Clausen into first-round draft picks, now in the offensive coordinator's chair, you'd think that would be enough to placate Brantley, right?
It might be. But not just yet :
After a difficult first season as a starter and Urban Meyer 's resignation, the redshirt junior is considering leaving a school.
That means the Brantleys might be waiting a bit; Weis isn't expected in Gainesville until after his season concludes with the Kansas City Chiefs .Between Brantley losing a year of eligibility in the event of a transfer (assuming he stays within the FBS) and Weis's reputation for grooming quarterbacks, it still seems unlikely Brantley will bolt. But if he does, it will make things awfully awkward for Muschamp and Weis in their first season; the only other quarterbacks on the depth chart are Trey Burton and Jordan Reed, neither of which will be a good fit at all for Weis's dropback-passer schemes. That would likely make incoming true freshman Jeff Driskel the starter by default, and though Driskel is one of the most highly-regarded recruits in the country, asking any true freshman to step in and take the reins for an SEC team from Day 1 is asking for trouble.
So expect Muschamp and Weis to make their best sales pitch to Brantley as soon as they possibly can. Their first season with the Gators might just depend on it.
Posted on: December 31, 2010 7:09 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 7:11 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Notre Dame never breaks a sweat during 33-17 win over Miami in El Paso
Offense: Tommy Rees probably isn't the best quarterback on scholarship at Notre Dame, but he's proven that sometimes there's more to the quarterback position than talent. The Irish improved to 4-0 on the season when Rees starts, though even Rees would tell you it's a lot easier to play quarterback when you have a talented wide receiver like Michael Floyd at your disposal.
Floyd says he hasn't made a decision as to whether or not he'll return for his senior season, but there are likely some NFL scouts drooling after his Sun Bowl MVP performance on Friday. Floyd finished the game with 6 receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Still, as nice as Floyd was for the Irish, the real key to their success was the running game, which racked up over 200 yards behind Cierre Wood, Robert Hughes and Theo Riddick. If it weren't for the Irish offense slowing down a bit in the second half -- which is understandable considering the game was already over at halftime -- I'd be giving them a higher grade than this. Grade: B+
Defense: The Notre Dame defense had flown a bit under the radar this season, and came into the Sun Bowl allowing only one touchdown in the last 12 quarters of play. That one touchdown was by USC, and it was a four-play three-yard drive following a turnover. The Irish stretched that streak to 15 quarters before Miami found its way into the end zone, and forced four turnovers on the day with safety Harrison Smith intercepting three passes by himself.
Miami finished the game with over 400 yards and 17 points of offense, but just about all of those came when the game was well out of reach late. Grade: A
Coaching: Brian Kelly didn't come to South Bend with the same fanfare that Charlie Weis and Ty Willingham did, but it's starting to look as though he may finally be the head coach that restores the winning tradition of Notre Dame. The Irish attacked Miami's defense early and built a big enough lead that it was able to coast through the second half, and Bob Diaco's defense stuffed Miami's running game and forced Jacory Harris to throw. And when you force Jacory Harris to throw, it's but a matter of time before the turnovers happen. Grade: A
Offense: It was really a tale of two quarterbacks for Miami. Jacory Harris came into the game looking to redeem himself and just made things worse. Here's what you need to know about Harris' day: he completed seven passes. Only four of them were completed to Miami receivers, the other three ended up in the hands of Notre Dame.
Stephen Morris came on, and though he threw an interception of his own, Miami's offense looked a lot better while he was in the game. Morris threw for 283 yards and two touchdowns, and even though a lot came in garbage time, the fact he didn't quit says a lot about him. Had he played the entire game, the outcome may have been a bit different. Grade: D
Defense: I can't blame Miami's defense for this one, as Jacory Harris didn't put them in a very good position in the first half. Hard as it may be to believe given the outcome of the game, I was actually impressed with Miami's defense in this game for the final three quarters. Even though the outcome of the game was never really in doubt, Miami's defense never stopped playing, and kept holding Notre Dame to field goals. Marcus Fortson, in particular, was impressive in the second half, frequently disrupting life in the Notre Dame backfield.
All that being said, however, Miami's defense never made a play to bail out its offense either. Grade:C+
Coaching: I do not envy the task that Jeff Stoutland had going into this game. A lame duck coach filling in for the recently fired Randy Shannon, and in charge of a team that seemed to lose interest in the 2010 season over a month ago. My only qualm with anything he did was starting Harris over Morris at quarterback, but given the fact that Morris sprained his ankle in practice, I can't even blame him for that. Grade: Incomplete
If you were tuning into this game hoping to see a classic like the meetings between these teams in the late 80s, then you were no doubt disappointed. Still, the game was a microcosm of the directions these once mighty programs seem to be going. Each team has plenty of work left to do, but Notre Dame seems to have already taken the first step back to respectability, while Miami needs to build a foundation first. Grade: D
Posted on: December 31, 2010 6:31 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 8:54 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
This probably isn't the way Pitt and Mike Haywood wanted their new relationship to get started.
According to a report out of South Bend, Indiana, where Haywood once served as a coordinator for Notre Dame , Haywood was arrested on a domestic violence charge in South Bend on Friday .
St. Joseph County Police say Haywood was arrested around 2:30 p.m. on Friday at a home in the 50000 block of Hawthorne Meadow Drive.
He has a child with the woman living there.
Police say there was a custody issue and the woman attempted to leave.
As she left, police say a physical altercation broke out.
The woman told police Haywood grabbed her by the arm and neck and pushed her.
According to the police report, the woman had red marks on her neck, arms and back.
Haywood was the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame under Charlie Weis before moving on to take the head coaching job at Miami (OH) . In his second season at Miami, Haywood led the Redhawks to a MAC championship before taking the Pittsburgh job earlier this month.
As of now, the school has not released a statement regarding Haywood's arrest.
UPDATE: We have a mugshot, thanks to KDKA.
Posted on: November 1, 2010 5:00 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
It wasn't supposed to be this hard, this early.
When Brian Kelly was first hired to replace Charlie Weis at Notre Dame, there were plenty of fans who thought the turnaround in South Bend would be instantaneous. Given the recent history at Notre Dame, this kind of thinking tends more towards delusion than optimism, but that's just the way things work in South Bend. (The many years of history and glory, no matter how long ago, always seem to hold greater sway than reality.)
It‘s true, Brian Kelly has brought a different attitude to Notre Dame. A likable coach, Kelly is never afraid to flash a smile and work the room on the rubber chicken circuit.
But on the field, not much has changed. In fact, this week could rightly be considered the toughest in Notre Dame history. A soul-crushing loss to Tulsa, questionable play calling, and season-ending injuries to its star players leave the Irish at 4-5 and in serious danger of missing out on another bowl game, which would be the third time in four seasons the Irish failed to play in a bowl.
The Four Horsemen these are not.
Sandwiched in between this mess was the real tragedy of the week, the death of video assistant Declan Sullivan, who lost his life while filming a Notre Dame practice from a scissor-lift that toppled over amidst high winds. Sullivan’s untimely death, combined with the dismal Irish showing, have put Kelly on the hot seat barely near the end of his first season. Perusing a couple of Notre Dame message boards this morning, believe me when I say there are plenty of calls for Kelly's firing. Granted, most people who regularly frequent college football message boards aren't exactly the stable type, but it’s clear they’re representing a broader sentiment.
As a response solely to the season, the “off with his head“ calls are just silly. As much as Notre Dame fans want to believe he is, Kelly is not a miracle worker. He's a football coach trying to make the best of what he was given, which, recruiting analysts be damned, wasn't much.
The Sullivan tragedy, however, changes the game completely.
Sullivan's death is the tragic outcome of a lot of people not exercising common sense that day. I wish that at some point a member of the school would have told Sullivan he shouldn't go up there, or Sullivan would have realized this himself, but it didn't happen, and nothing can fix it now.
We can look for a scapegoat and given human nature, we will. Whether or not Kelly deserves it, this will loom over his head like a dark cloud for the rest of his tenure in South Bend.
The fact is, if Notre Dame goes on to miss a bowl game this season, and the struggles continue into next year, this incident will be used against Kelly. Fair or not, he is in charge of Notre Dame football, and Sullivan's death happened on his watch.
It's also why Kelly could be fired this season, and with cause. It might not be right, but it's not all that wrong either.