Tag:Jeff Casteel
Posted on: March 3, 2012 5:47 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Arizona

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Arizona.

Spring Practice Starts: March 5

Spring Game: April 14

Returning starters: Six offensive, five defensive, two specialists.

Three Things To Look For:

1.  Is Matt Scott as snug a fit for Rich Rodriguez's offense as he seems to be? Many college football fans have probably forgotten about Scott, but that's not his fault; the fifth-year senior and de facto Wildcat starter made highly successful cameos in both 2009 and 2010 before injuries and the emergence of Nick Foles consigned him to the bench. Though he's not going to be Pat White or Denard Robinson, Scott has more than enough mobility to be a weapon on the run -- his two 2010 starts yielded more than 130 combined yards on the ground -- and sufficient accuracy to keep defenses plenty honest. In short, Scott should be exactly the sort of quarterback Rodriguez would have wanted to inherit, a sort of Tate Forcier-type with vastly more experience (and vastly less, you know, academic ineligibility and such). If spring camp shows signs that Scott's picking the offense up as quickly as Rodriguez would want, the Wildcat offense could be something dynamic come the fall.

2. Are you sure? Who are the difference-making skill-position players? If Rodriguez was handed a nice housewarming gift in the person of Scott, on paper he hasn't been nearly as lucky at running back or wide receiver. Both the Wildcats' leading rusher from a year ago (Keola Antonin) and receiver (All-American Juron Criner) have departed, not to mention the team's second- and third-leading receivers as well--2,232 receiving yards in all. The good news is that rising sophomore Ka'Deem Carey should be ready to build on a promising debut season in the backfield, and that 6'4" senior Dan Buckner should have a breakout season in the receiving corps; the bad news is that if they're not, Scott may be forced to shoulder a heavier load than even he's capable of carrying.

3. Can the defense stay healthy? With Rodriguez's old ace defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel back in his staffing fold -- a failing at Michigan that, more than any other individual factor, led to Rodriguez's downfall in Ann Arbor -- the Wildcats shouldn't lack for defensive know-how. And in safety tandem Adam Hall and Marquis Flowers, defensive linemen Justin Washington and Kirifi Taula, and linebacker Jake Fischer, Castell will have some tools to work with. But that assumes those tools stay healthy--Fischer tore an ACL in spring camp 2011 and missed the entire season, a blow from which the linebacking corps never seemed to truly recover. If Casteel can get out of this spring with all of his key pieces intact, the Wildcats should be able to take a step forward on the defensive side of the ball in 2012.

To check in on the rest of the Pac-12 and other BCS conferences, check out the Spring Practice Schedule

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Posted on: January 18, 2012 2:15 pm
 

Report: Venables not interested in Kansas State

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Another day has come and gone and Brent Venables is still at Oklahoma. There's been a lot of speculation about Venables' future since Mike Stoops joined the Oklahoma staff, as he was mentioned as a replacement for Jeff Casteel at West Virginia, and he's interviewed at Clemson as well. Following the news on Tuesday that Chris Cosh had left Kansas State to become defensive coordinator at South Florida, plenty of people did the math and wondered if Venables would move to Manhattan.

He is a Kansas State graduate after all.

It seems that speculation can be put to rest. The Tulsa World's Dave Sittler tweeted on Wednesday that Venables is "absolutely not interested" in taking the defensive coordinator job at Kansas State. Which does come as a bit of a surprise. As mentioned above, Venables did go to school at Kansas State, and with Bill Snyder being 72 years old, you have to wonder how much longer he'll be sticking around to run the program.

So it's possible that Venables could take the job at Kansas State as the "head coach in waiting." A position that hasn't had a lot of success at other schools recently -- hey, Bill Stewart, how you doing? --  but Venables has shown plenty of interest in becoming a head coach before. Maybe his priorities have changed, or maybe he's just not sure how much success he could have at Kansas State.

After all, there's a lot more defensive talent at Oklahoma than there is in Manhattan.

Whatever the case is, it seems that Venables has narrowed his choices down to staying at Oklahoma or going to Clemson. We'll likely find out his decision soon enough.

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 12:12 pm
 

Brent Venables still with the Sooners, for now

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ever since it was announced that Mike Stoops would be returning to Oklahoma to join his brother Bob Stoops' staff, there have been questions about defensive coordinator Brent Venables' future at the school. Mike Stoops was officially announced as Oklahoma's new defensive backs coach and as the co-defensive coordinator along with Venables, but since the announcement, Venables' name has come up at a few other schools.

Last week Venables was reportedly interviewing with Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia after Jeff Casteel left the school to go to Arizona. Venables then took himself out of the running and left with Mike Stoops on Friday to do some recruiting in Florida. Instead of returning back to Norman, though, Venables then spent the rest of his weekend interviewing with Dabo Swinney about becoming defensive coordinator at Clemson.

There had been reports that Venables had accepted the Clemson job, but upon returning to Norman on Sunday, Venables would neither confirm or deny being offered the Clemson job.

According to the Tulsa World, Dabo Swinney still wants to interview former Miami head coach Randy Shannon and maybe a few others before making a final decision.

Whether or not Venables takes the Clemson job probably won't be known until later in the week, but the signs seem to be indicating that he's either set on leaving the Sooners. He has interviewed for head coaching positions many times while at Oklahoma, but he'd never interviewed to be a defensive coordinator at another school during that time. Now he's done so twice in the last week.

I just don't think that happens if he's happy with the idea of splitting his coaching duties with Stoops.

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:33 pm
 

Mike Stoops in at OU, Venables out?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While it was first reported that former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops would be returning to Oklahoma to coach on his brother Bob Stoops' staff after Oklahoma's win over Iowa in the Insight Bowl, nothing had been announced officially on the subject. That is, until now.

“I'm on my way to Oklahoma this afternoon,” Mike Stoops told The Oklahoman. “It's just going through some formalities at this point.” 

It's what those formalities are that cause a bit of confusion. When it was first reported that Mike Stoops was returning to Oklahoma, it was said that he'd coach the defensive backs and be a co-defensive coordinator alongside Brent Venables. Whether that will end up being the case or not has now been brought into question.

The Tulsa World reported on Thursday that Venables has talked with West Virginia about its vacant defensive coordinator position. Jeff Casteel left Dana Holgorsen's staff on Wednesday to reunite with Rich Rodriguez on his new Arizona coaching staff. If Venables did leave Oklahoma for West Virginia, he'd likely be co-defensive coordinator as well, but unlike at Oklahoma where he'd have to defer to Mike Stoops -- blood is thicker than water after all -- he'd be the lead defensive coach on Holgorsen's staff.

So it's clear right now that there will be some shakeups on Oklahoma's coaching staff this season, though we don't know how big they'll be just yet. Though, in my opinion, it's hard to see Venables staying at Oklahoma at this point where he'd suffer a sort of demotion rather than taking the West Virginia job.

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Posted on: January 11, 2012 7:28 pm
 

Casteel officially joins Arizona's staff

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's one of the college football world's worst-kept secrets of the last few weeks, as it was hinted at yesterday -- and Arizona actually had Jeff Casteel's bio on its website on Tuesday -- but the news became official on Wednesday evening. West Virginia's defensive coordinator, Jeff Casteel, has left the program to reunite with Rich Rodriguez in Arizona.

“I have enjoyed my time at West Virginia University, and it’s been 11 great years," said Casteel in a release. "I have coached some outstanding young men, and I would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication. I want to thank the coaches and staff members I have been associated with during my time at WVU for their work and support. The fans also have been great, and I want to thank them as well."

Casteel was on Rodriguez's West Virginia staff from 2001 to 2007, taking over as defensive coordinator in 2002. 

Casteel is not alone either, as West Virginia's also losing two other coaches from its defensive staff to Arizona in cornerbacks coach Dave Lockwood and defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich. Which means that Rodriguez's defensive staff at Arizona is complete and that while Dana Holgorsen's offense seemed to finally figure things out in the Orange Bowl, he'll now have to start over on the defensive side of the ball. 

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 6:44 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 7:45 pm
 

Jeff Casteel joining Rodriguez at Arizona

Posted by Chip Patterson

Since Rich Rodriguez was hired as the next head coach at Arizona, is has been widely speculated there would be some familiar faces joining him on the Wildcats' coaching staff. According to a report from the Tuscon Citizen, Rodriguez will announce West Virginia's Jeff Casteel as his defensive coordinator on Wednesday.

Rodriguez indicated in his introductory press conference that he would reach out to former colleagues to join him at Arizona, but did not know if they would be interested in leaving their current posts. Casteel was on Rodriguez's staff at West Virginia from 2001 to 2007, serving as defensive coordinator for the Mountaineers since 2002.

Casteel has reportedly been Rodriguez's top target since his hiring in late November. The defensive coordinator is a West Virginia-native, and his 3-3-5 scheme was a pivotal part of the Mountaineers' three BCS bowl wins since 2005.

Following West Virginia's record-breaking 70-33 win over Clemson in the Orange Bowl, Casteel dodged the questions regarding a potential reunion with Rodriguez in Tuscon.

"You know what I think, the kids have worked hard, they just won 10 games," Casteel said from the Sun Life Stadium locker room. "To put the emphasis on the speculation - I'd rather just focus on what I think the kids deserve and that's what the focus should be on."

Popular belief among the West Virginia media following the conclusion of the game was that Casteel was out, and it was just a matter of time before the announcement was official. CBSSports.com's Patrick Southern suggests that cornerbacks coach Dave Lockwood and defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich may follow Casteel, filling the last two defensive holes in Rodriguez's Arizona staff.

UPDATE: While the school hasn't issued an official release, we're guessing that by having Jeff Casteel on the school's website, it's now about as official as official can get.

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Posted on: December 30, 2011 10:58 am
 

PODCAST: Previewing Sugar Bowl & Orange Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

The CBS Sports College Football Podcast begins to wind down the Bowl Preview Series with a close look at the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3 and Orange Bowl on Jan. 4. The ACC is sending two teams to BCS bowls for the first time in conference history, and hope Virginia Tech and Clemson can improve the league's 1-4 record in the last five BCS appearances.

Brady Hoke's impressive first year at the helm takes the Wolverines to New Orleans, and Denard Robinson will look to find the end zone against a Hokies defense that has allowed just 17.2 points per game. ACC and Big East fans are expecting fireworks in South Beach with the high-powered offenses of West Virginia and Clemson on the field, but tune in to hear what Adam Aizer and J. Darin Darst think will be the difference-maker in the first BCS head coaching experience for both Dana Holgorsen and Dabo Swinney.

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Get all the latest on both bowl games right up until kickoff at the Sugar Bowl Pregame and Orange Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: November 6, 2011 3:06 am
 

Big East Winners and Losers: Week 10



Posted by Chip Patterson


A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.

WINNER: Charlie Strong

After dropping their third straight game in a 25-16 losing effort against Cincinnati, few pundits had Louisville on their short list of Big East contenders. But second-year head coach Charlie Strong didn't quite have the pieces in place offensively for the Cardinals to reach their maximum potential. But after naming Shawn Watson the offensive play-caller, Teddy Bridgewater the starting quarterback, and allowing Dominique Brown to settle in as a true tailback; Louisville has found the winning combination.

The timing of Louisville's current three-game win streak also lines up nicely with Strong's lucrative contract extension, which will pay him to coach the Cardinals through 2018. Since the announcement of the new deal, Louisville is 3-0 and now sits alone in second place of the current Big East standings. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the young Cardinals, but as expected the young talent has improved throughout the season and now they are one win away from bowl eligibility for the second year in a row. Louisville hasn't been to bowl games in back-to-back years since Bobby Petrino's tenure, and the offensive growth shown in the 38-35 upset of West Virginia makes that scenario appear likely.

LOSER: West Virginia

Geno Smith's 410 passing yards weren't enough to lead West Virginia to victory on Saturday, and the Mountaineers find themselves on the losing end of a Big East conference matchup for the second time in three weeks. The 5-1 start that had the Mountaineers poised as a conference title contender has evaporated, and now Dana Holgorsen's team will likely need to win out in order to give themselves a chance at a BCS bowl bid. After being one of the nation's most stingy units in 2010, Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 defense has been picked apart by quarterbacks in recent weeks.

The talent on the field is arguably the best in the conference, but West Virginia's inability to execute has plagued them since league play began. On Saturday it was a blocked/missed field goals and poor red zone defense that allowed Louisville to hang in the game and steal a victory late against the Mountaineers. Now the challenge for Holgorsen will be bouncing back in time for next week's showdown with conference-leading Cincinnati. One more conference loss all but seals West Virginia's destiny for a bowl berth in December. However, knocking off the Bearcats will open the title race up and give the Mountaineers the head-to-head tiebreaker advantage. Because of Saturday's loss, the next seven days could determine West Virginia's season.

WINNER: Rutgers' bowl eligibility

After a tough 2010 campaign, Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano said that it was "time to get back to playing Rutgers football." Schiano, the most tenured coach in a very young Big East, must have "Rutgers football" defined as "finding ways to win." For the Scarlet Knights won their second overtime game on Saturday, marching back from a 17-3 fourth quarter deficit to win 20-17 against South Florida. It was the fifth game this season decided by one score or less, and once again Rutgers found a way to win despite being out-gained offensively 381-228. Racking 228 yards of total offense is normally an easy way to lose to the likes of BJ Daniels, but the defense came through in the second half and put starter-turned-backup quarterback Chas Dodd in a position to lead the Scarlet Knights to victory. Now at 6-3, Rutgers is bowl eligible for the sixth time in seven years. Greg Schiano may not come to mind as one of the most dominant coaches in the game, but his time at Rutgers has been defined by consistent winning seasons.

LOSER: USF fourth-quarter defense

The four game losing streak that has South Florida in a 0-4 hole for league play is due in large part to the Bulls' performance late in games. In the slide, USF has been outscored 44-14 in the fourth quarter. At times (like the loss to Pittsburgh) the struggles were game-long, but holding a two-score lead against Rutgers and losing is cause for serious concern in the South Florida camp. Before conference play started the Bulls were ranked in the Top 20 and thought (by this author, included) to be one of the new frontrunners for the Big East title. Now mathematically out of the running for the crown, head coach Skip Holtz must rally the team to make the most out of the 2011 season.

Luckily, bowl eligibility is not out of question for the 4-4 Bulls. They will travel to face Syracuse in the Carrier Dome on Friday before finishing their schedule (Miami, Louisville, West Virginia) with three games in Tampa. If USF can win two of those contests they could find themselves snagging a bid to the BBVA Compass Bowl (or some similar Big East tie) with a 6-6 record. It would not be anything to hold a parade about, but a turnaround will be necessary if the Bulls want to have anything to build on heading into 2012.

WINNER: Cincinnati's Big East title hopes 

Charlie Strong isn't the only second-year coach making headlines with 2011's unpredicted success. Butch Jones continues to build on his impressive sophomore effort with the Bearcats, improving to 7-1 (3-0 in Big East play) with a 26-23 road victory against Pittsburgh. Already with a victory against Louisville, the Bearcats now have a two-game buffer on the competition for the conference's BCS bowl bid. Unfortunately the road to a BCS invitation will not come easily, with away games against Rutgers and Syracuse following Saturday's meeting with West Virginia. A win over the Mountaineers puts the Bearcats in a great position to win the league title outright. A loss will create a jumble for the title, and then tie-breakers suddenly become the differentiator between the Champs Sports Bowl and a BCS bowl appearance.

LOSER: Pittsburgh's offensive line 

Pittsburgh's offensive line has dealt with injuries and depth issues all season. Head coach Todd Graham's offensive scheme has led to heavy rotation among the five positions, with the Panthers never really settling in on a lineup yet this season. The issues up front have been felt by Pittsburgh's quarterbacks. The Panthers entered the game leading the nation in sacks allowed with 36 in eight games of action.

The offensive line was exploited once again by Cincinnati in the 26-23 loss, but you won't find the proof in the stat sheet. Tino Sunseri was only brought down three times in the losing effort, but the Bearcats brought the heat through the whole second half. Pittsburgh's inability to adjust to the pressure and get something going offensively eventually became their downfall, as they watched a 10 point lead disappear over the last two quarters.


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