Tag:South Florida
Posted on: January 13, 2010 11:37 am
Edited on: January 13, 2010 7:33 pm

Muschamp top choice at Tennessee

Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has been targeted as the top choice to replace Lane Kiffin at Tennessee.

Muschamp’s name surfaced almost immediately in Knoxville after Kiffin’s shocking announcement Tuesday night. The 38-year-old with roots in the SEC was elevated to Texas’ “coach designate” in November 2008 after being hired away from Auburn in January 2008. His pay jumped from $425,000 to $900,000 in less than a year in Texas.

Under his watch, Texas’ defense became a top five unit in 2009 featuring All-Americans Sergio Kindle and Earl Thomas. It has long been thought when a school seriously came after Muschamp there wasn’t much Texas could do about it. Brown’s retirement is not imminent.

Since coming to Texas, Muschamp name has been linked to openings at Auburn, Clemson, Washington and Tennessee (after Phil Fulmer departed).

Other names that have surfaced for the opening include Troy Calhoun (Air Force), Houston Nutt (Ole Miss), Kyle Whittingham (Utah), Bronco Mendenhall (BYU), Kevin Sumlin (Houston) and Phil Fulmer.

 And so the fallout begins …

The Knoxville News Sentinel is reporting that Ed Orgeron is telling Tennessee mid-term recruits not to enroll. That, the paper says, would allow the recruits to sign at USC ...

Before you go to bed tonight, you have to look at this gallery of photos from Knoxville last night. Vol Nation is an uproar ...

Did I just see that Mike Leach has been contacted by South Florida? A guy that is suing his administration could replace a guy (Jim Leavitt) who is about to sue his administration.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 11, 2010 2:32 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2010 2:39 pm

Jim Leavitt fires back

Here is audio of former South Florida coach Jim Leavitt's press conference on Monday.

Leavitt reiterated that he did nothing wrong saying "the allegations are misreported". Asked if he would do anything different on Nov. 21, Leavitt said no. When asked specific questions he said, "I can't go into those kinds of things."

Multiple witnesses said they saw Leavitt choke and slap player Joel Miller on Nov. 21, according to a South Florida investigation. Leavitt was fired by the school on Friday.

Michigan assistant Calvin Magee interviewed with South Florida on Monday.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 8, 2010 3:13 pm
Edited on: January 8, 2010 3:24 pm

The end of Jim Leavitt at South Florida

There was something very Nixonian to the end of Jim Leavitt.

It wasn’t the act itself of the South Florida coach allegedly grabbing the throat of a player and hitting him. It was the denials and interference with an investigation that got Leavitt fired on Friday. There was a hint of Watergate cover-up to the whole thing.

It was an unfortunate end to a brilliant career at South Florida and a troubling continuation of a coaching trend. Leavitt has been the only coach the school has known. Thirteen years ago he bought the first footballs, worked out of a trailer for years, coaching the Bulls to the brink of a Big East title.

Now this, a sordid termination letter where athletic director Doug Woolard is very specific about Leavitt’s misdeeds.

He was fired with cause. The school said his conduct was “not compatible with USF’s educational mission and the health and welfare of USF student athletes.”

Health and welfare? Where is the coaching profession headed? This is the third such incident in slightly more than a month. Kansas’ Mark Mangino resigned under pressure after allegations surfaced of mistreatment of players. Texas Tech’s Mike Leach was fired after doing whatever he did to Adam James. Mangino and Leavitt coached together under Bill Snyder at Kansas State. All three coaching with or for Bob Stoops at some point.

Other than, there are few connections except the alleged mistreatment of athletes. Leach is aggressively fighting his firing, alleging that his former employers made “slanderous and libelous” statements about him.  The situation at Texas Tech quickly degenerated into a he said/he said argument as both sides argued over the semantics of “electrical closet” and “shed”.

At this point, Mangino looks the most sane. Allegations of his mistreatment of players went back at least eight years.  In the end, he settled on a buyout with the university. The whole affair was wrapped up in less than a month.

Maybe all three should take something from Woolard’s letter: “The disparity in authority and power between you as the head coach and the student athlete makes your conduct more serious.”

Maybe this will signal the end of the coach-as-bully syndrome. Maybe it’s just the beginning as more parents and players become empowered by recent events.

One player said that Leavitt “flat-out lied” when he denied going after walk on Joel Miller. Another player told an investigator that he “knew he has witnessed a crime.” The most troubling accusation is that Leavitt tried to intimidate walk-on Joel Miller by telling him “choose his words wisely” because the coach was “the most powerful man in the building.”

Of the three recent coaching situations, Friday’s might have been the weirdest yet.  At the time Leavitt was fired, Miller had actually recanted his original accusation that the coach had grabbed him by the throat at halftime of a Nov. 21

“I’m very disappointed,” Leavitt told CBSSports.com.  “I’ll respond at the appropriate time. “

Oh, he’ll respond all right, probably with some “inspiration” provided by Leach’s lawyers.

The next coach could walk into a gold mine. In the fluid Big East, South Florida could win the league as soon as next year. I’d love to see Florida defensive line coach Dan McCarney get another shot. He got shafted after 12 years at Iowa State and has rebuilt his rep with a national championship with the Gators.

You can bet agent Jimmy Sexton will be trying to get his client Tommy Tuberville an interview. You even hear the name of Steve Spurrier. South Florida could be his retirement job.

Home runs, all three.

Just like Leach and Mangino, though, you wonder if Leavitt will coach on the BCS level again.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 8, 2010 10:16 am
Edited on: January 8, 2010 11:16 am

South Florida coach Leavitt seemingly gone

Indications are that Jim Leavitt has been fired as South Florida's coach, CBSSports.com has learned.

The firing comes after allegations that he grabbed player Joel Miller by the throat at halftime of the Nov. 21 Louisville game.

While not confirming the firing, Leavitt told CBSSports.com Friday morning, "I'm very disappointed. I'll respond at the appropriate time. Just very disappointed."

Asked if he could be reached later on his supposedly university-issued cell phone, Leavitt responded, "I don't know. I've never been through this before."

If he has been fired, Leavitt would be the third BCS conference coach in slightly more than a month to lose his job over allegations of mistreatment by a player or players. Previously, Kansas' Mark Mangino and Texas Tech's Mike Leach left their schools amid allegations.

Miller alleged that Leavitt, the only coach in South Florida history, had grabbed him then later recanted. A university investigation followed.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 17, 2009 10:56 am
Edited on: November 17, 2009 2:47 pm

Leach and Louisville

The latest from the coaching rumor mill is that there is a mutual interest between Texas Tech coach Mike Leach and Louisville.

It is almost a certainty that Cardinals’ coach Steve Kragthorpe will be relieved of his duties after this, his third season. Louisville is 4-6 with games left against South Florida and Rutgers. It needs to win those to have a chance to go bowling for the first time since 2006. Kragthorpe is 15-19 at Louisville.

The school is already assured of its first consecutive non-winning season since 1987. 

Leach just went through a bitter contract extension negotiation earlier this year. But he emerged with a who’s-your-daddy chip after a battle with AD Gerald Myers. Leach owes no buyout if he leaves. The Red Raiders are 6-4 which ties for their worst 10-game start since 1999, the year before Leach was hired.

The colorful coach is known to have a wandering eye. He interviewed with Washington last year and was reportedly interested in the opening at UCLA  before Rick Neuheisel took over in 2008.

"If there are communications [from Louisville], it's not been with us," said a Leach representative on Tuesday.

Louisville AD, Tom Jurich, is one of the more aggressive ADs in the country. He got Rick Pitino to coach basketball and moved quickly after Bobby Petrino left to coach the Atlanta Falcons after the 2006 season. At the time, Kragthorpe was one college football’s hottest coaching properties.

Such a move would make sense. Texas Tech is coming off its best season in Leach’s decade-long stay. It went 11-2, losing to Mississippi in the Cotton Bowl in 2008.

The Big 12 South Division is one of the most rugged in the game with annual powers Texas and Oklahoma in control. A move to the less competitive Big East would allow Leach better access to a conference title and BCS bowl.

Leach is in the first year of the extension which pays him $2.8 million this season. That includes an $800,000 bonus he will be paid on Jan. 1 if he is still at Texas Tech.

Posted on: October 20, 2009 12:46 pm

Tony Pike has procedure

Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike had what was termed a "procedure" on his left forearm Tuesday morning to repair a plate that had been placed there last year.

Pike will not practice Tuesday or Wednesday and should go Thursday according to the school. He is still day to day depending on swelling. Pike sprained his left wrist Thursday during the win at South Florida. The plate in his arm also shifted. The plate was placed there to repair damage suffered in a game during Cincinnati's Orange Bowl season.

The Bearcats are one of only seven undefeated teams left in Division I-A. They host Louisville on Saturday.

Posted on: October 19, 2009 12:39 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2009 7:50 pm

Tony Pike update at Cincinnati

The Cincinnati quarterback will see an orthopedist today to determine his progress after injuring his wrist Thursday night against South Florida.

"We should know something later today," coach Brian Kelly said today on the Big East conference call. "Hopefully we should have some good news. I don’t have my degree. I defer to the medical personnel. They know about it more than I do. He was out and my mind goes to the next guy in. They’re going to make the determination. I kind of give them an outline [of what Pike has to be able to do]."

Pike sprained his left wrist while being sacked. The plate in his left forearm also shifted. If Pike isn't able to go then backups Zach Collaros and Chazz Anderson, both sophomores, will take over. Collaros was the hero of the South Florida game, running for a 75-yard touchdown in place of Pike.

"Obviously, he’s [Pike] got to be able to do the things within the shotgun offense," Kelly added. "We’re not going to put him a position [to fail]. Carson Plamer is playing with a cast on his left hand. Clearly you could do it."

But not, Kelly added, in a spread offense where there is so much the quarterback has to do.  

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 14, 2009 6:22 pm

National notes

Thank you Florida State for releasing the 695-page transcript of the school's hearing with the NCAA earlier this year.

What the school gained in transparency, it lost in embarrassment. In the transcript we found out that one academic advisor said a player had a 60 IQ and was unable to read. Gee, what was he doing at Florida State then?

 Jan. 1 used to be a holy day of obligation. Hook up an IV of beer, spread out the snacks, let the belt out a notch and veg in front of the TV.

Lately, our day of football daze has been denuded of significance. The calendar for Jan. 1, 2011 now shows at least six games. Six! The announcement of the Dallas Classic beginning in 14 months further degrades what used to be the best football day of the year.

Just what the world needs, a No. 7 team from the Big 12 vs. some slug from Conference USA. Jan. 1 used to be special. All the majors played on the same day. Now the Rose, Fiesta, Sugar and Orange are so spread out you need a GPS to locate them all.

In addition to the Rose and Sugar, this year we’ll get the Gator, Capital One and Outback. The roster swells next year because Dallas felt the need to replace the Cotton Bowl game it is losing to the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. The new Dallas Classic will be played in the Cotton Bowl.

Can’t wait to see the attendance in the 92,000 stadium which is essentially used twice a year. The other time being for Texas-Oklahoma. Got a birthday or a bar mitzvah coming up, the Cotton Bowl is available.

The Rose Bowl has been the Jan. 1 stalwart. We could always look forward to seeing the parade and the San Gabriel Mountains each New Year’s Day. Nurse that hangover, suck on a Bloody Mary. It was all good. In recent years, even the Rose has been moved around in years it is in the BCS championship rotation.

The game itself has become almost an afterthought with the Big Ten having lost seven Grandaddys in a row.

Sure, it’s a national holiday and advertisers know we’re going to be home to watch, but we want our NYD back. The beer is going flat.

 Expanding on the Ndamukong Suh angle. If the Nebraska defensive tackle is on top of the list, here are the other top five defense players in the country.

2. Eric Berry, S, Tennessee. The SEC defensive player of the year hasn’t backed off. Berry has an incredible 50 tackles and one interception of Tim Tebow.

3.Tyler Sash, S, Iowa. Tied for the national lead in interceptions with five.

4.Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida. The fastest, meanest linebacker around playing for the No. 1 defense. Thirty-two tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks.

5. Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama. Bama has the No. 2 defense in the country. McClain is the center of it with 42 tackles, 5 ½ for loss, two sacks and two interceptions.

  This week’s Scripps Howard Heisman poll which yours truly votes in.

            (10 voters. First-place votes in parentheses.)
            1. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida. 40 points (8).
            2. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas, 25.
            3. Tony Pike, QB, Cincinnati, 13.
            4 (tie). Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame;
            Case Keenum, QB, Houston, 12.
            Others receiving votes: Nebraska DT Ndamukong, Suh, 7; Miami QB Jacory Harris, 6; Texas WR Jordan Shipley 5 (1); Kansas QB Todd Reesing 5 (1); Alabama RB Mark Ingram 5; Stanford RB Toby Gerhart, 2; Boise State QB Kellen Moore, 2.
 Weird meeting of the headsets Thursday in South Florida.

Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly fired defensive coordinator Joe Tresey after last season. Tresey was then hired by Bulls’ coach Jim Leavitt. South Florida enters Thursday’s showdown fifth in scoring defense (9.4 points per game) after allowing 20 per game last season.

Advantage Tresey who knows Cincy’s personnel and whose team is at home? Not exactly. Kelly’s new d-coordinator Bob Diaco has the Bearcats at No. 10 in scoring defense (13.8 points).

 Props to Lousiana-Monroe which has its longest conference winning streak (three games) since 1992. The Warhawks have one of the smallest budgets in I-A and are coached by the coach thought to be the lowest paid in the division, Charlie Weatherbie.

 The WAC is at it again. Idaho’s Tre’Shawn Robinson was reprimanded by the conference after throwing a punch against San Jose State. Reprimanded, not suspended. Sound familiar, Boise State?

 We’ll know more next week but Washington looks to be the most improved team in the country at the halfway point. The Huskies are 3-3 heading to Saturday’s game at Arizona State. That’s a net improvement of six games over last season’s 0-12 record. The season reaches its halfway point on Saturday.

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