Monday Skull Session

By Luke on December 13, 2010 at 6:00a

Good Monday morning, internet. Welcome to the best part of waking up. No Monday blues here/case of the Monday's/Orgy nu metal covers of New Order or anything of that fashion; just a few quick salient points and links you may have missed this weekend while you were busy shoveling snow or having your identity stolen from Gawker Media (<3 u Gizmodo, for serious).

 YOU GET A COACH! AND YOU GET A COACH! AND YOU GET A COACH! Oprah's final episode of favorite things was bizarre (you'd think she'd know better than to run a sports themed episode during the same time as the Heisman trust's annual ceremony?) None the less, daytime television's queen gave prizes to tens of thousands of lucky Americans lavish gifts in the form of new head coaches for their alma matters Saturday and Sunday. The first out of her bag of goodies (which literally made some dude look like this) was a magical, cutting edge, brand new, revolutionary Will Muschamp, for the University of Florida. Having to succeed the nearly irreplaceable Urban Meyer and his 2 national titles, the one-time defensive coordinator of MNC grossing in their own right LSU Tigers and former Auburn assistant (under now Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville) returns to a comfortable competitive environment in arguably the only posher job than the one he was ear marked to get in Austin. And yeah, worry not about the high risk poker act associated with bringing in a first time head coach with a defensive background on a team with major offensive question marks, because at least the players/recruits like him, right?

"I wanted to see them get Jon Gruden because it would be such an honor to play for him. He's a great coach ... and Bobby Stoops too."


Florida haters can at least take solace in the fact that despite 24+ hours of waffling, it's sounding like Texas running backs coach (and Texas folk hero) Major Applewhite could join the Gators as Muschamp's new offensive coordinator. Applewhite, while successful in 2006 as the principle play caller at Rice (and who's success could still be in many way at least partially attributed to offensive guru/head coach Todd Graham), struggled mightily in the big seat as Alabama's offensive coordinator in Nick Saban's first year in Tuscaloosa. So much so did Applewhite fight with his own ability to find consistency during the 2K7 season that many speculated that had he not accepted the step down to coach running backs under now ousted playcaller Greg Davis with the Longhorns, he likely would've been relieved of his duties by Nick Saban anyways. But hey, he can't be as bad as Steve Addazzio, right? Let the run of mythical national Muschampionships begin.

 My body is a temple (and their coach is from one) Miami (of Florida) wouldn't allow one of the other 3 historical football powers in the state during the last decade make a move without making a splash of their own: On Sunday night, Bruce Feldman cracked DaUinci code and revealed tie-clad Al Golden would shower himself onto South Beach as the new Hurricanes headman. Golden, a former Penn State tight end, was believed by many to likely stay out of the mix at both The U and Pitt to keep himself in play whenever the smoke finally bellowed from below to indicate Penn State had chosen a new pope. However, who knows what the time line on that would look like nor does a move to Miami really necessarily kill that possibility anyways. 

While Al Golden may not be a marquee name to most, the dude performed absolute witchcraft during the last several years by making Temple relevant. Despite being robbed for a worthy bowl appearance this year, Golden managed to get kids in the Philadelphia/New Jersey area interested in, heck, EXCITED about staying home and playing football there and that's nothing short of a minor miracle. If he can close the gates around the Miami/Fort Lauderdale and surrounding metro areas, watch out Jimbo Fisher, et al. (okay, really just he, Skip Holtz, and the aforementioned Coach Boom). Plus, the guy likes to work out to Europe's immortal "The Final Countdown", possibly making this the most inspired hire of the 2010/'11 college football cycle:

Just wow.

 GRAND OL OPRY'D As seen in the space formally known as "Good Shizzy" and across the twittersphere, Gus Malzahn is being earmarked by the Washington Post (better known as WaNgToPo in my household) as bound for Vanderbilt. While certainly not impossible, Auburn message boards (and bloggers) have been racing like hell to discredit the report ever sense and have now convinced themselves that Malzahn has turned down the private-Nashville based institution based on a package composed of little more than sheer delusion (I kid; kind of). 

While the Vandy job is certainly not the place a coordinator of Malzahn's stature and pedigree typically goes to make his first impact as a head coach, the reported/rumored $3-$3.5 million dollar asking price is also not something ordinarily afforded someone in their first go at being a head man. I guess the real questions (besides whether he agrees to term with the school or not) become will he stay on long enough to lead the Tigers offense in their national title effort and what kind of distraction will it be? While Bo Pelini's pending ascension to the top ranks of the Nebraska Cornhuskers proved to be no such issue against the Buckeyes in 2008, Mark Richt's departure for Georgia infamously put the brakes on a year of successful offense for the Seminoles and in part helped Bob Stoops put his name on the national landscape. It would seem unlikely Vandy wouldn't afford him the opportunity to help deliver Auburn their first national title in nearly fifty nears; they're Vanderbilt for pete's sake, they can wait.

Also: does this mean Vandy outkicked their coverage so emphatically that they may have out-hired both Florida and Miami? Is this real life?

 Potential Future Vacancy Michigan athletic director/noted pizza tracker aficionado Dave Brandon is sticking to his guns and refusing to conduct a formal review of Rich Rodriguez' future with the program until after their bowl. His logic seems airtight:

Q: You are taking a lot of heat for waiting on your evaluation of Rodriguez. Do you care about being criticized for sticking with your plan?


A: Have I (been criticized)?


Q: People are saying, "Why is he waiting? This is ridiculous. Recruiting is a mess."


A: I don't think recruiting is a mess. I met with recruits last weekend. I'm going to meet with recruits (before the Big Chill). The coaches are actively recruiting. Coach Rodriguez and I are just fine. We spend a lot of time together. He has a very clear understanding, and has from Day One, as to what the plan is. What I want is for everyone to focus on the fact we still have a game to play. It's a real important game. Everybody whines for the last two years because we haven't gone to a bowl game. Well, now we're going to a bowl game. I sense that's important to people.

Good to know those 3-star 260 pound lineman and 5'7 defensive backs unable to get offers in their home states are still excited about the future direction of the program. I suppose as long Stanford still hasn't played before that process begins all's not lost. And besides, at least this guy's always game.


Comments Show All Comments

nickma71's picture

Now we are going to a bowl game? Just like that M Zone blog video on youtube about the offensive-genius.

tomcollins's picture

I sure am glad we don't have to have the problems of Texas and worry about our talented offensive and defensive coordinators moving on to head coaching jobs.

iball's picture

Like dating fat chicks.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

Poe McKnoe's picture

I cannot believe Bollman's named hasn't surfaced ANYWHERE.  I figured he'd fit right in in South Florida! 

Ha, how ironic would it be if Bollman retires, and the Buckeyes tank.  I mean like 6-7 win seasons with his departure.  All Buckeye fans would sit around with dazed looks thinking they are in the Twilight Zone.

iball's picture

In our defense we do have one hot gf in Fickell

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

Run_Fido_Run's picture

You're being partly facetious, right?

Heacock is one of the best in the business. I'm guessing, though, that he's not put his name out there for head jobs the last 5-10 years or so, and now he's 62 years old. Sure, his production could have been even better if the'd kept rolling out DLs like the 2002 version - and Heacock takes his share of responsibility for recruitment of the so-so or good (but usually not great) DLs - but stud DLmen are a precious commodity (especially when competing against SEC cash).      

iball's picture

NO, I think Heacock does a good job, but he's old, nobody wants to hire him. You couldn't have a better job as a coach at his age.

Hazell and Fickell seem to get hit on quite a bit, but I donj't hear anyone talking to Bollman.

Cowherd said Pellin WAS talking to Nebraska and Rich Rod expects to be fired.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

Run_Fido_Run's picture

To clarify: Did you mean that Pellini had been talking to Miami, FL, as per reports last week?

Also, is Cowherd saying he has some really good inside sources at both Nebraska/Miami and Michigan? On what basis is Cowherd making these claims, or is he just asserting his confidence in his own intution (speculative powers)?

I don't see RR gone unless a top replacement (Harbaugh, others?) is lined up beforehand.

tomcollins's picture

Cowherd is a grade A moron, so I am assuming this means RR is a lock to stay next year and may even be getting a contract extension.

btalbert25's picture

I will still maintain that Harbaugh will NOT be coaching Michigan in the near future.  I just don't see it.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

And that probably means that UM is stuck with RR. I can't think of another prospect, but without having someone lined up, I don't see Brandon pulling the trigger.

tomcollins's picture

Mainly talking about Bollman.  Heacock is overrated but still pretty good.

Mostly facetious, but really having the best coordinators that aren't going anywhere has its value unless you have the connections to keep bringing up new talent or being willing to pay for it.


LOL @ the fat chicks reference.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

You're suggesting that - setting aside the risk associated with having a young hotshot on staff, or conversely that "below the radar" guys like Heacock get bonus points for not being highly coveted and therefore being more likely to stick around and provide stability - that Heacock is still SOMEWHAT overrated.

But who's doing a better job than Heacock? We always hear about how the big difference between the BT/Ohio State and the elite soutern teams is that the southeast and Texas produce not just fast/athletic skill players, but freaks of nature in the trenches.

I agree with that, up to a point, but it also comes down to SEC cash. When a very precious commodity is the recruiting "market" - the Glenn Dorseys and the Nick Fairleys - the bidding war is that much more intense than it would be for other positions at which top talent is more likely to be a dime-a-dozen.

Okay, so consider Heacock's production in the last 5 years in light of what he's competing against . . .        

tomcollins's picture

I'm no expert on grading every DC in the nation.  Heacock's absolutely fantastic at bringing in the talent.  I have no idea how much of that he is responsible, but that alone will get you the furthest.  He's been a bit too conservative in big games with his soft zone (which is absolutely fantastic against inferior teams who will eventually make mistakes on long drives).  Against good teams, they don't make those mistakes and drive right through you.

He's really improved the last 2 seasons (not sure if that is Fickell or just Heacock improving) and gotten a lot more aggressive.

But if you have the choice between a hotshot who will likely be gone in 2 years or someone who won't be going anywhere for the rest of his career and all other things are equal, the choice is obvious.

But how do you keep the young guys around?  You can give them a pile of money (didn't work for holding onto Gus Malzahn).  You can give them a pile of money and a promise to take over (didn't work for Muschamp and almost didn't work for Jimbo Fisher).  So really there are not many good answers.  However, our system of having 1 experienced guy and 1 hot-shot young guy as co-coordinators seems to be working quite well.  The hot shots are valuable but replaceable.  They also have value down the line for replacements of staff.

iball's picture

I'll take Jewell Hampton.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

iball's picture

In the heat of the season I get pissed when we don't play well. Just like 99& of Buckeye Nation. The first target is always the coaching staff, namely Bollman and Tressell.

But, I have to admit, it's hard to bitch about a program that wins 10 every year. Can you imagine if Tressell went 7-5 or 8-4 next year? wow. Pithchforks and torches, period.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

tomcollins's picture

It's not hard to imagine, I live in Austin, Texas, where they were even more spoiled and refused to make the right moves and now are stuck without their entire staff, a coach too old to actually get back on the horse, and a rising conference.  It's like looking at the Roman Empire fall and seeing the parallels in today's society.  We can learn from the mistakes of others or we can wait until it happens to us.

They actually had 10-win seasons for even longer than Tressel and tougher competition.

btalbert25's picture

People call for his head when there's a 2 loss season.  Hell he's criticized this year with 1 loss.