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Tag:Miami
Posted on: March 17, 2009 10:02 am
 

What we learned from the Bryce Brown saga

There is a way clean up recruiting. NCAA president Myles Brand led the charge in 2004 after recruiting scandals at Florida State and Colorado.

Brand used his bully pulpit five years ago to address a "culture of entitlement". Hey, all it took was Williams' diary about scarfing down steak and lobster during his Florida State recruitment. That was when FSU victories still counted, by the way.

Bravo for Brand. The recruiting process had spiraled out of control. The NCAA needed to close up some loopholes.

Several columnists were up in arms again Monday when celebrated recruit Bryce Brown announced his signing with Tennessee. The more more than year-long "drama" played out with the Wichita, Kan. tailback walking into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame (ugh!) sporting a Miami hat (gag me). He then took it off and put on the Tennessee hat (barf bag, please).

As distasteful as that scene was -- please, kids, give us something original than the chapeau charade -- it doesn't necessarily mean the process needs to be cleaned up this time. Brown was taking advantage of the rules that allow prospects almost two months to sign letters of intent. We've become so wrapped up "commitments" and "national signing day" (please, not capital letters) that kids like Brown become boogie men when they don't sign on the prescribed date.

Dinner theater histrionics aside, Brown was taking advantage of the system. Sure, the kid and his advisor/mentor Brian Butler were quirky. Brown committed to Miami in February 2008 with the caveat that he would take all five of visits. Huh? In the end, things degenerated so much with Miami that Brown taunted the school (described above). Butler was the first of his kind in college football, a handler who recruiters had to go through to get to Brown.

You know what Brand can do this time? Nothing. Blame the kid, blame the culture of recruiting it is what it is. There has been a cry for an earlier signing date to head off scenes that played out on Monday. An earlier signing day would only move the angst to December when several states are still involved in the state playoffs. Imagine being pressured into signing with a school the same week you're playing for a state championship.

The early signing day is brought up by coaches each year and each year it is shot down. Such legislation would be self-serving. The coaches can get their recruiting done earlier, get on with spring practice and have a longer offseason. I'm in favor of letting the athlete take as much time as he wants. I've brought this up several times, but the top recruits could really make a statement by waiting until August to sign a scholarship agreement.

"That's funny you said that," Eugene Byrd, told me in 2003. Byrd was the director of the National Letter of Intent program. "There's even a place on our website where it says you don't have to sign a letter of intent, you can use this scholarship agreement."

Administrators are amazed an alternative, the scholarship agreement, isn't utilized more. After the football signing period ends ... a scholarship agreement is basically a yearly promise from a school it will provide X amount of books, board and tuition if a prospect comes to that school.

It's not the NCAA's fault that marriage vows can be viewed less solemnly than a recruiting "commitment." It's up to us -- fans, journalists -- to just calm the heck down. Hey, I'll admit it. I drove to Wichita to talk to Butler. I wanted to find out what he was about. Others have followed. The NCAA is now involved into an investigation of Butler.

I think Butler's a mostly innocent party. The guy cares for the kids but also has an entrepreneurial spirit too. I also think that the NCAA is out to make an example of him, trying squash him before more of his kind pop up. Slimy handlers in college basketball long ago soiled that sport's recruiting. In the end, don't be surprised if the NCAA labels him a "representative of a university's athletic interests" and he will be done. Which university? Doesn't matter. The NCAA will find one.

By the way, let's give Brand credit for being the most accomplished CEO in NCAA history. There was doubt about his abilities when the former Indiana president took over. His claim to fame was firing Bobby Knight. While that was a lifetime achievement good enough for me, some wondered how an academic would do leading the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Brand has turned out to be a forceful leader. I can't imagine Walter Byers, Dick Schultz or Cedric Dempsey trying to clean up recruiting on their own. In fact, I can't imagine the last of those three doing much of anything. Our thoughts and prayers now are with Brand who is fighting pancreatic cancer. His legacy will be having led the NCAA into an era of unprecedented credibility.  

There will be more Bryce Browns but there will be fewer Willie Williams.

Small victories.

 

 

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Miami, Tennessee
 
Posted on: February 17, 2009 9:59 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2009 10:00 pm
 

Mike Leach's job in danger?

They're going to fire Mike Leach.

At least it sounds that way after the cryptic statement released by Texas Tech AD Gerald Myers on Tuesday. Leach let pass a 6 p.m. ET deadline set by the school to sign a lucrative extension.

So now what?

"We will enter the decision-making process and should have some announcements by next week," Myers said in the statement. "Our decisions will be based on the best interest of Texas Tech and all of its supporters."

Decision-making process? What's left to decide? Myers himself said that Leach either signed the contract or that it would be pulled off the table and the coach would serve out his current deal through 2010. The only decision left to be made, it seems, is to keep Leach as coach.

The school and coach are now backed into a corner. Texas Tech can't keep a coach who 1) doesn't want to be there and 2) can't recruit if he did somehow stay.

The only resolution might be for both parties to start over.

Even if Leach decides to keep coaching going under his current deal, the school can't allow it. It can't allow the program to be run into the ground by a disgruntled coach looking for his next job. Let's not forget, in terms of staying power, Tech is closer to Big 12 South bottom feeders Baylor and Texas A&M than it is Texas and Oklahoma.

There already is a special Tech regents teleconference called for Friday, "including but not limited to the position of the football head coach." That doesn't sound like the regents are ready to discuss spring practice.

That's what is so stupid about this thing. The two sides have agreed to the money -- $12. 7 million over five years. The hang-up is basically over a buyout/termination clause. There has to be a number in the middle that both sides can agreed on. It isn't that hard, fellas.

This is a heck of a bluff to call on both sides. Leach has been unable to go elsewhere while employed at Texas Tech. It isn't because of his winning percentage. The Pirate was too crusty around the edges for Washington, Tennessee, Auburn and Miami, all jobs he coveted the past two seasons.  It may be that Lubbock is the only place in the country that tolerated Leach's shtick.

Some of that support is starting to wane. The only thing worse than being undesirable is being undesirable without a job. If he is fired, let's see how many offers Leach gets in February. All the jobs are filled. Let's say he sits out a year and comes back in 2010. He will be damaged goods and the short list of possible openings doesn't seem to fit: Notre Dame, Louisville, Virginia and Indiana.

Notre Dame: Please. The first tie Leach wears will be his first. (not counting clip-ons)

Louisville: AD Tom Jurich is about done hiring coaches with a wandering eye.

Virginia: See Notre Dame.

Indiana:  Bob Knight went to Tech for his rebound job. Leach to Indiana for his rebound job? Ain't happening.

Mike Leach will be able to get a job, just nothing on a par with Tech, a competitive program in a power conference that can afford to pay him $2.5 million per year.

Unless the sides -- Leach, his agents and the school -- can hammer out a deal soon, this situation has gone beyond the point of repair. There are too many egos, too much money at stake for everyone to walk away.

That includes Myers who will come out of this looking bad no matter what happens. He let it get to this point by not locking up Leach during the season. Even if a deal is struck, he is responsible for making Tech look like backward bumpkins.  Texas Tech has failed to realize that it is Texas Tech. Leach could be that once-in-a-lifetime coach for a program that hadn't done much before him.

There is no middle ground. Either a deal gets done, soon, or Leach is fired. Shortly after, Myers might follow him out the door.

 

 

 

Posted on: February 17, 2009 9:59 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2009 10:00 pm
 

Mike Leach's job in danger?

They're going to fire Mike Leach.

At least it sounds that way after the cryptic statement released by Texas Tech AD Gerald Myers on Tuesday. Leach let pass a 6 p.m. ET deadline set by the school to sign a lucrative extension.

So now what?

"We will enter the decision-making process and should have some announcements by next week," Myers said in the statement. "Our decisions will be based on the best interest of Texas Tech and all of its supporters."

Decision-making process? What's left to decide? Myers himself said that Leach either signed the contract or that it would be pulled off the table and the coach would serve out his current deal through 2010. The only decision left to be made, it seems, is to keep Leach as coach.

The school and coach are now backed into a corner. Texas Tech can't keep a coach who 1) doesn't want to be there and 2) can't recruit if he did somehow stay.

The only resolution might be for both parties to start over.

Even if Leach decides to keep coaching going under his current deal, the school can't allow it. It can't allow the program to be run into the ground by a disgruntled coach looking for his next job. Let's not forget, in terms of staying power, Tech is closer to Big 12 South bottom feeders Baylor and Texas A&M than it is Texas and Oklahoma.

There already is a special Tech regents teleconference called for Friday, "including but not limited to the position of the football head coach." That doesn't sound like the regents are ready to discuss spring practice.

That's what is so stupid about this thing. The two sides have agreed to the money -- $12. 7 million over five years. The hang-up is basically over a buyout/termination clause. There has to be a number in the middle that both sides can agreed on. It isn't that hard, fellas.

This is a heck of a bluff to call on both sides. Leach has been unable to go elsewhere while employed at Texas Tech. It isn't because of his winning percentage. The Pirate was too crusty around the edges for Washington, Tennessee, Auburn and Miami, all jobs he coveted the past two seasons.  It may be that Lubbock is the only place in the country that tolerated Leach's shtick.

Some of that support is starting to wane. The only thing worse than being undesirable is being undesirable without a job. If he is fired, let's see how many offers Leach gets in February. All the jobs are filled. Let's say he sits out a year and comes back in 2010. He will be damaged goods and the short list of possible openings doesn't seem to fit: Notre Dame, Louisville, Virginia and Indiana.

Notre Dame: Please. The first tie Leach wears will be his first. (not counting clip-ons)

Louisville: AD Tom Jurich is about done hiring coaches with a wandering eye.

Virginia: See Notre Dame.

Indiana:  Bob Knight went to Tech for his rebound job. Leach to Indiana for his rebound job? Ain't happening.

Mike Leach will be able to get a job, just nothing on a par with Tech, a competitive program in a power conference that can afford to pay him $2.5 million per year.

Unless the sides -- Leach, his agents and the school -- can hammer out a deal soon, this situation has gone beyond the point of repair. There are too many egos, too much money at stake for everyone to walk away.

That includes Myers who will come out of this looking bad no matter what happens. He let it get to this point by not locking up Leach during the season. Even if a deal is struck, he is responsible for making Tech look like backward bumpkins.  Texas Tech has failed to realize that it is Texas Tech. Leach could be that once-in-a-lifetime coach for a program that hadn't done much before him.

There is no middle ground. Either a deal gets done, soon, or Leach is fired. Shortly after, Myers might follow him out the door.

 

 

 

Posted on: February 9, 2009 2:56 pm
 

Miami has a new defensive coordinator

Randy Shannon has settled on John Lovett, North Carolina's special teams coordinator/defensive assistant. Except an announcement sometime this week.

Lovett, 58, becomes Miami's third defensive coordinator in three seasons. He has been a d-coordinator at Auburn, Clemson, Maine and Bowling Green.  

 Don't expect any major rules changes to come from the annual NCAA rules committee meeting this week in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. I spoke to secretary-rules editor Rogers Redding who specifically mentioned that the timing rules will stay in play. The length of games (and plays per game) were reduced slightly in 2008 with the new timing rules.

"I think there's a sense of, let's let these soak in for a while," Redding told me. "Let's take a deep breath."

He said there was some discussion of adding a two-minute warning but that there wasn't enough support.

 

Posted on: January 2, 2009 7:21 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2009 7:33 pm
 

Leftovers from the Rose Bowl and other bowls

LOS ANGELES -- Take all of this for what it is worth but USC's two biggest stars from Thursday say they're coming back.

Receiver Damian Johnson said before the Rose Bowl that he was definitely coming back from his redshirt junior season in 2009. That was before his 10-catch, 162-yard career day against Penn State.

A USC source told me that Sanchez' father told him that the quarterback is definitely coming back. Sanchez threw for 413 yards (second-most ever in the Rose Bowl) and four touchdowns.

"I don't know how I could leave all this," Sanchez told reporters after the 38-24 victory. "That's what I'm planning on."

Departing offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian was asked if this was Sanchez' last game.

"I don't know. I know he's a tremendous quarterback, he's extremely bright. He's got great physical tools. He prepares himself mentally and physically better than anyone I've been around. I don't know what that equates to. I just know what he is."

If both players return, USC's offense could be the most productive at Troy since 2005, the last season for Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. The defense is another issue. The offensive line returns intact. Williams and Ronald Johnson are rounding into go-to receivers for Sanchez who has struggled in general to develop one as a starter.

The nation's No. 1 defense is another story. It figures to lose 10 starters if, as expected, safety Taylor Mays comes out early.

"It's about what's best for me," Mays said.

Code breaking from your favorite translator: He's gone.

As for that rebuilt defense ... USC got its last national championship game with a unit that wasn't exactly a juggernaut in 2005. It finished 48th nationally giving up 361 yards per game.

 While Sanchez' future is uncertain, Sarkisian did coach his last game at USC before going to Seattle for take over the sinking ship known as the University of Washington.

"It's been seven great years of my life," Sark said. "Four straight Rose Bowls to be part of, three straight wins. For Mark and I, watching him grow up as a freshman until this point now I'm really happy for him."

"More than anything we've got to develop a belief in winning. This team believes in winning. That's the first thing we have to carry up there."

 Williams is the most productive on-field member of the Springdale Five.

Four of the five highly-recruited members of Springdale (Ark.) High School followed their coach Gus Malzahn to Arkansas in 2006. Since then, a cross-country drama has played out. Malzahn left Arkansas after a year to go to Tulsa. He recently took the OC job at Auburn.

They eventually scattered to the four winds. Williams and quarterback Mitch Mustain transferred to USC. Mustain is now the No. 3 quarterback behind Aaron Corp and Sanchez. Williams led the Trojans in receiving. Tight end Ben Cleveland is still at Arkansas having caught one pass in 2008. Receiver Andrew Norman transferred to Tulsa in 2007, then returned to Arkansas as a walk-on in 2008.
Offensive lineman Bartley Webb signed with Notre Dame but reportedly gave up football because of a shoulder problem.

"I wouldn't ever say that (I'm the most accomplished)," Williams said.

 It still boggles the mind that Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer was considering redshirting quarterback Tyrod Taylor. In winning a tidy, if not exciting, Orange Bowl, Taylor is now 13-2 as a starter.

The Hokies should go into next season as ACC favorites. Again. Tech's dominance of the league was not what the suits envisioned when they expanded the league but until Miami and Florida State show us more, the league is going to stay out of the state of Florida.

 Speaking of which, that was the ACC's first BCS bowl win (and second ever) since 2000. Virginia Tech was involved in that one too, as the loser from the Big East against FSU.

 South Carolina quarterbacks threw an incredible 27 interceptions this season and have coughed up a total of 69 in Steve Spurrier's four seasons. After a disappointing 31-10 loss to Iowa in the Outback Bowl you've got to ask yourself how much the OBC has left before he starts hitting from the tips for good.

  For whatever its worth, the Pac-10 has clinched best record in the bowl season (5-0). It's hard to put much stock in a series of exhibition games but if we're going to damn the Big Ten for being 1-5 in bowls, we might as well credit the Pac-10.

That doesn't remove the fact that the league had two of the worst programs in America -- Washington and Washington State -- and continues to be USC and the Little Nine.

 Not a bad comeback for Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz in the Gator Bowl. He fumbled away a ball that was a returned for a touchdown and threw a pick that led to another score. After leading a second-half rally Ganz was named the MVP of the Gator. 
Posted on: December 30, 2008 4:31 pm
 

Kirk Ferentz to the Browns?

The Boston Herald is speculating about it.

 There's a full-on p------ match between Robert Marve and Miami's Randy Shannon. The kid's dad raises a point. Why is it OK for a coach to put stipulations on a release from a scholarship?

 

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Miami
 
Posted on: December 28, 2008 5:27 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2008 5:46 pm
 

Random bowl thoughts ...

I really want to believe that Miami and Florida State have turned the corner. I really do. After watching them back-to-back on Saturday in bowl games, though, that is clearly not the case.

Florida State's defense is worthy of its predecessors, but is probably losing that unit's best player Everette Brown. Offensively, the line still has to be game-planned around. Quarterback Christian Ponder is inconsistent. When he does get the ball out smoothly, Ponder has (had) one reliable receiver in Greg Carr.

There's a reason only one quarterback (West Virginia's Pat White) has started and won four bowl games. Did you see Miami freshman Jacory Harris against Cal in the Emerald Bowl? He did an admirable job until that killer fumble deep in his own territory. All it did was decide the game. Harris had to know that he either has to go down in that situation or throw the ball away. His struggle allowed the ball to come loose and Cal to win.

Coach Randy Shannon deserves a lot of the blame for mismangement of the clock in the final two minutes but Harris didn't do his team any favors either. The freshman had no urgency to his step. With a chance to run out of bounds near midfield, he elected to cut toward the middle of the field. That wasted more time and showed how much this raw talent has to learn.

In his second career college start, Harris lost for the first time in 32 starts dating back to high school. There are better days ahead. I think.

 Please, someone, make Cal's Jahvid Best the 2009 Heisman frontrunner. I don't care if Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford come back. Best right now is the best tailback in the country. After rushing for 186 yards against the Canes, the sophomore ended No. 2 on Cal's single-season rushing list.

  More on White: It almost seemed like coach Bill Stewart was trying to showcase his quarterback for the pros in the Meineke Bowl. While White will go down as one of the Mountaineers' all-time great, he will not be a quarterback in the NFL. I like to compare him to the guy whose record he broke, Brad Smith of the New York Jets. White passed Smith on the all-time rushing list for quarterbacks. He will never be known as a passer.

Most likely, White will make an NFL roster as a slash-type player similar to Smith or Ted Ginn Jr. of Miami.

While you consider White's numbers from Saturday, don't forget these lines against Pittsburgh (15 of 28, 143 yards, two interceptions), South Florida (14 of 23, 141 yards) and Colorado (10 of 14, 43 yards).

 After Wisconsin's pitiful showing against Florida State, is the Big Ten's rep on the line again or what? Going into Sunday the conference was already tied for the second-worst bowl record this season (0-1).
Posted on: December 15, 2008 11:24 pm
 

King Carl bites the big one

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If it wasn't so damn cold here, people would be dancing in the streets.

A city's football franchise held hostage, has been set free.

King Carl is done.

That stuff you read about Kansas City Chiefs GM/CEO/President/Dictator-for-Life Carl Peterson's "resignation" on Monday? It probably came from Auburn AD Jay Jacobs because Peterson left voluntarily about has much as Tommy Tuberville did. This was about owner Clark Hunt being much more decisive than his father ever was.

Peterson was unceremoniously booted from the job. These things have to be presented nicely so no one's feelings get hurt but that is exactly what happened. Hunt was sick of it, the fans were fed up, the entire city had had it. They all deserved better. The Chiefs haven't won a playoff game since 1994. Think about that in this age when Miami and Atlanta can turn out in one season. Fourteen years? You almost have to try to be that bad in an NFL where everything is legislated so each team goes 8-8.

In the last 10 years, Carl had become a whipping boy. An arrogant whipping boy. While he fiddled, Arrowhead burned -- or what used to be Arrowhead. Peterson's bad draft decisions and cronyism drove the franchise into the ground.

The Chiefs needed this kind of move, like, yesterday. Hunt saw that Peterson's credibility has been used up. Once raucous Arrowhead was half full. (I still don't understand why games weren't blacked out.) The fans were wearing bags over their heads. A rebuilding project was completely botched. With a stadium renovation set to debut and ticket prices being raised again, faith had been lost.

All of it was on Peterson. The man deserves credit for wearing snazzy leather coats and having Dr. Feelgood and the Interns of Love play at his wedding reception but he never connected with this town even when things were going good.

What in the name of Matt Ryan was ever wrong with drafting and developing a quarterback? That never happened here in two decades under Peterson. The man deserves credit for bringing winning football back to Kansas City. Unfortunately, Peterson lost his fastball long ago. The rest of the league has been teeing off on him for too long. 

 

Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com