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Posted on: November 27, 2010 2:24 pm

Connecticut capitalizing on opportunity so far

Posted by Chip Patterson

When West Virginia toppled Pittsburgh in the 103rd Backyard Brawl, Connecticut suddenly had a reason to extra thankful this weekend.  The Panthers loss opened up the Big East conference championship race to the Huskies and Mountaineers, with the prize of a BCS bowl berth at the finish line.  Connecticut has been on a tear since starting the conference season 0-2.  They have knocked off West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse on their climb up the standings.  Now with two weeks left, the Huskies own the tie breaker against the top teams in the conference and control their own destiny.  Connecticut has seized the opportunity so far against Cincinnati, leading 24-10 at half.  

Jordan Todman has continued his impressive performance on the ground, creeping up on the 100 yard mark in the first half.  Todman has broken the 100 yard mark in every game except a 26-0 shutout loss to Louisville, and is averaging 155 yards per game in the Huskies current win streak.  It is awfully impressive to think that a team that just joined Division I is on the verge of a potential BCS Bowl game, and a huge credit to head coach Randy Edsall for getting them to this point. 
Posted on: November 23, 2010 4:29 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2010 5:02 pm

Caldwell on the hot seat at Vandy?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If there was ever a head football coach that deserved some patience, you'd think Vanderbilt 's Robbie Caldwell would be him.

He took over as head coach just weeks before the start of the Commodores' season when Bobby Johnson stunningly resigned. He inherited a team with a highly suspect offensive philosophy and a major talent disadvantage against nearly every team on its SEC schedule. He was given essentially no shot at implementing his own staff or schemes in the miniscule timeframe allotted. He is in his first season. And, just once more for emphasis, he is the coach at Vanderbilt . You could argue that the 'Dores 2-9 record is actually better than you'd expect from Caldwell, since his team has played a difficult nonconference schedule (featuring bowl-bound UConn and Northwestern ) and have been major underdogs in 10 of those contests.

And still, to hear Caldwell tell it, none of that might matter to his bosses in Nashville :

Caldwell is hopeful Saturday night's season finale with Wake Forest isn't his last game as Vanderbilt's football coach.

But if it is, Caldwell said he understands ...

"If it is my last game, well, I'll be sad because I've enjoyed my time here at Vanderbilt," Caldwell said. "Hopefully it won't be. But if it is, I understand. It's the life of a football coach, unfortunately, this day and time."
Caldwell may understand, but frankly we don't. What, exactly, was the Commodore brass expecting after the chaos of Johnson's retirement? Why, after years of conservatism when it comes to hiring and firing, are they suddenly getting an itchy trigger finger with a coach who's done almost nothing to desrve it? If they were always intent on giving Caldwell just one season at the helm before going after a bigger fish, then why remove the interim tag from his title in the first place?

Since none of those questions have obvious answers (and since Vandy's athletic department may not be in the kind, it will still be a major surprise if Caldwell is given the boot. But if he is, it'll be the clearest sign yet that the SEC's win-now-or-win-never attitude towards the employment of its head coaches has filtered down to even its lowest -- and most academically-oriented -- rung.

Posted on: November 15, 2010 3:57 pm

Greg Romeus's season (and college career?) over

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Sometimes, college football just isn't fair. Just ask Pitt defensive end Greg Romeus .

Romeus collected eight sacks and 11.5 tackles-for-loss in 2009 on his way to being named Big East co-Defensive Player of the Year, and could have been a high draft pick had he decided to leave after his junior season. Instead he returned to help the Panthers try and win Dave Wannstedt 's first Big East title, and while Pitt might manage that anyway, it won't be for Romeus's expolits on the field; he suffered a back injury in the Panthers's season-opening loss to Utah , missed seven games, returned for last Thursday's matchup against UConn ... and promptly suffered a knee injury that Pitt announced today was a torn anterior cruciate ligament .

The injury will end Romeus's season after just those two appearances without either a sack or tackle-for-loss. If there's any silver lining* to what has to be a crushing disappointment for both Romeus and Pitt, it's that it's possible that after missing so much time in 2010, the NCAA could grant him a medical waiver and a sixth year of eligibilty. (Romeus redshirted as a freshman.) It's premature to say he's played his last game in a Pitt uniform.

Then again, Romeus may want to capitalize on whatever lingering good will he has with NFL scouts while he can. Either way, it's hard to pick out any top-level draft prospect who's suffered a more difficult season than Romeus.

*OK, there's one more silver lining at least for Pitt: in Jabaal Sheard and Brandon Lindsey , they have a pair of defensive ends with 27 combined sacks over the past two seasons. Few positions on few teams in the country were as loaded as the Panthers were at DE entering this season.
Posted on: October 28, 2010 12:30 pm

Randy Edsall is paranoid

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Try not to sneak up on UConn head coach Randy Edsall if you see him in the next few days, because the man is a bit jumpy at the moment.  You would be too if you knew that all around you, hiding behind every corner, sitting in every parked car, there are spies.  At least, that's what Edsall thinks.

The coach found out on Wednesday that somebody was posting a detailed transcript on the internet of everything that had gone on during UConn's practice on Tuesday.

"One of our former players' parents e-mailed [program assistant Joanne Fazio]," Edsall told the Hartford Courant . "We had somebody that was giving a blow-by-blow of everything that happened in practice. We might have to practice inside all the time now."

Edsall then said that the team would be practicing inside on Wednesday due to the rain, but that the team had to remain aware of this dorm room spy, no doubt wearing a fedora and a trenchcoat, letting the entire world know about Huskies practices.

"Technology, these days … everybody wants to let everybody know everything."

Yes, well, if I were Edsall I'd probably take a different approach to this whole situation.  I'd just be happy somebody was actually watching UConn football.

Category: NCAAF
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