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Tag:Mark Dantonio
Posted on: February 3, 2012 12:04 pm
 

Barry Alvarez: Recruiting is 'open season'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It doesn't sound like Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez is as concerned about Urban Meyer's recruiting tactics the way his own head coach and others in the Big Ten seem to be.

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema, along with Michigan State's Mark Dantonio, made it clear that they were not fans of the way Urban Meyer had conducted himself during his first recruiting season with Ohio State. Specifically the way Meyer recruited players that had previously given commitments to other Big Ten schools, including Wisconsin and Michigan State.

Bielema also said on Thursday Barry Alvarez would be talking to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany about Meyer when the two met. While that conversation may still happen, if you listen to what Alvarez told ESPN's Joe Schad on Friday, it doesn't sound like he's going to be asking Delany to make Meyer change his habits.

"Urban was very aggressive but there is no pact within the conference not to continue to recruit," Alvarez told Schad in regards to the supposed "gentleman's agreement" amongst Big Ten coaches. "Open season." 

Which makes it sound like if Bielema doesn't want Meyer coming around his recruits, he's just going to have to work even harder to make sure those recruits come to play at Wisconsin, not Ohio State.

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 10:33 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 3:28 pm
 

Urban Meyer responds to fellow coaches' criticism

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It seems Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer heard the complaints from fellow Big Ten coaches Bret Bielema and Mark Dantonio about his recruiting tactics on Thursday, and not surprisingly, he doesn't care.

According to Buckeye fansite the OZone, Meyer fired back while at the Ohio High School coaches clinic on Friday morning.

"You're pissed because we went after a committed guy? Guess what, we got 9 guys who better go do it again," said Meyer. "Do it a little harder next time."

Meyer also released a statement on Friday afternoon.

“I was pleased to take part in a productive, regularly scheduled meeting of the Big Ten Conference coaches today in Chicago," said Meyers in the release. "We had an opportunity to discuss a number of issues with each other and conference staff, including those that have arisen this week. It should be noted that my coaching staff is in full compliance with our recruiting efforts, and no one on this staff did anything illegal or unethical. We will continue to comply with NCAA rules and recruit with relentless effort, especially the great state of Ohio.
 
“I want to thank Commissioner Delany for his insight and leadership, and at this point we all look forward to moving past this week and getting ready for the start of spring football.”

This all started when Wisconsin's Bret Bielema and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio publicly criticized Meyer's recruiting tactics. Of the ten players that committed to Ohio State after Meyer became head coach, eight had previously committed to other schools. That includes offensive tackle Kyle Dodson (Wisconsin) and defensive end Se'Von Pittman (Michigan State).

Bielema also said on Thursday night that Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez was going to be talking to Jim Delany about Meyer's recruiting tactics. All because of a supposed "gentleman's agreement" -- an agreement that even Alvarez himself denied exists on Friday -- within the Big Ten that says coaches aren't supposed to go after another coach's commits while recruiting.

Which wasn't the way Meyer, or any coach, did things in the SEC, and it doesn't look like Urban is willing to adapt.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 6:08 pm
 

Barry Alvarez to talk to Delany about Meyer

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier on Thursday we went over the first stage of lost recruit grief when writing about how Wisconsin's Bret Bielema and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio were upset with Urban Meyer and his recruiting tactics.

Well, we've now reached the second stage: run to the principal's office.

Apparently airing his grievances wasn't enough for Bielema, as the Sporting News' Matt Hayes wrote on Thursday night that Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez would be talking to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany about Meyer on Friday in Chicago.

“We at the Big Ten don’t want to be like the SEC -- in any way, shape or form," Bielema told Hayes.

The jokes are just too easy with that remark, even if Bielema was only referring to recruiting.

Honestly, though, what else can you do but laugh at all of this? These are supposed to be grown men, yet they're acting more immaturely than the high school kids they're fighting over to begin with.

You don't want Urban Meyer or any other coach coming in to "steal" your recruits, then recruit the kid harder. Sell him on your program so hard that when Meyer does come around that kid will tell him "no thanks." Don't go running to your conference commissioner and hope he'll force Meyer to stop so it makes your job easier.

Either that or just take your ball and go home. None of the other kids are going to want to play with you anyway.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 3:31 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 8:36 pm
 

Big Ten head coaches already upset with Meyer

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It appears that the grace period for new coaches in the Big Ten lasts for 65 days or only one National Signing Day. That's how long it took for fellow Big Ten coaches to publicly speak about being upset with new Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer.

Not surprisingly, the complaints from Wisconsin's Bret Bielema and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio are related to Meyer's recruiting tactics. Particularly the part where he just shows up, swoops in and then causes recruits to suddenly change their minds and flock to Columbus.

“There are a few things that happened early on that I made people aware of that I didn’t want to see in this league, that I had seen take place in other leagues,” said Bielema on Wednesday. “Other recruiting tactics, other recruiting practices that are illegal. 

“I was very up front and was very pointed to the fact, actually reached out to Coach Meyer and shared my thoughts and concerns with him. The situation got rectified.”

Michigan State's Mark Dantonio was a bit more to the point.

"(Ohio State has) a new coach, and it's different," Dantonio told the Detroit News. "I would say it's pretty unethical, in the end." 

It seems that Bielema and Dantonio aren't used to the recruiting tactics Meyer has brought along from his days in the SEC, where the gentlemanly rules of the Big Ten do not exist. It seems SEC coaches know that no commitment means anything until a letter of intent is signed, so the race for any recruit they might want doesn't end before February.

Question the morality of it all you want, but you'll notice the SEC has won the last six national championships while the Big Ten has been rather uninspiring.

Meyer's first class at Ohio State was good enough to finish ranked third in the CBS Sports National Signing Day Top 25. In that class of 24, 10 of the commits didn't come on board until after Meyer became head coach at Ohio State. Of those 10 players, eight had previously given commitments to other school.

Including offensive lineman Kyle Dodson (Wisconsin) and defensive end Se'Von Pittman (Michigan State). Hence the reactions of Bielema and Dantonio. Still, of the other six, four had been committed to Penn State and two to Notre Dame. You don't hear Bill O'Brien or Brian Kelly crying foul about it today.

Not that complaining will do anything to deter Meyer. He's a head coach that realizes in order to build a successful program, not only do you need to have a good coaching staff, but you have to have good players. Players that are found through recruiting.

So whine about how he does all you want, he's seen the fruits of his efforts and has a couple rings to show for it. Nothing anybody can say will change that.

Other Big Ten coaches can either get on board, or run the risk of being left behind.

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Posted on: January 22, 2012 4:53 pm
 

The Big Ten responds to Joe Paterno's death

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Legendary former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno died early Sunday morning at the age of 85, leaving behind a football legacy that is simply unmatched. Here are some reactions from coaches and other notable figures in the Big Ten, which Penn State joined 19 years ago.

Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien: "It is with great sadness that I am compelled to deliver this message of condolence and tribute to a great man, husband, father and someone who is more than just a coach, Joe Paterno. First, on behalf of Penn State Football, we offer our sincerest condolences to the Paterno family for their loss. We also offer our condolences to the Penn State community and, in particular, to those who wore the Penn State colors, our Nittany Lion football players and alumni. Today they lost a great man, coach, mentor and, in many cases, a father figure, and we extend our deepest sympathies. The Penn State Football program is one of college football's iconic programs because it was led by an icon in the coaching profession in Joe Paterno. There are no words to express my respect for him as a man and as a coach. To be following in his footsteps at Penn State is an honor. Our families, our football program, our university and all of college football have suffered a great loss, and we will be eternally grateful for Coach Paterno's immeasurable contributions." 

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of Joe Paterno. His passing marks a tremendous loss for Penn State, college football and for countless fans, coaches and student-athletes. Our condolences go out to the Paterno family and to the entire Penn State community."

Nebraska athletic director and former head coach Tom Osborne: "I am saddened to hear the news of Joe Paterno's passing. Joe was a genuinely good person. Whenever you recruited or played against Joe you knew how he operated and that he always stood for the right things. Of course, his longevity over time and his impact on college football is remarkable. Anybody who knew Joe feels badly about the circumstances. I suspect the emotional turmoil of the last few weeks might have played into it. We offer our condolences to his family and wish them the very best." 

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer: "I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Coach Joe Paterno. He was a man who I have deep respect for as a human being, as a husband and father, as a leader and as a football coach. I was very fortunate to have been able to develop a personal relationship with him, especially over the course of the last several years, and it is something that I will always cherish.

"My prayers and thoughts go out to his wife, Sue, and to their family, and also to the family he had at Penn State University. We have lost a remarkable person and someone who affected the lives of so many people in so many positive ways. His presence will be dearly missed. His legacy as a coach, as a winner and as a champion will carry on forever."

Michigan head coach Brady Hoke: "I am certainly saddened by the news today of Coach Paterno's passing. College football has lost one of its greatest, a coaching icon. Even though I was just an assistant when our teams faced one another, I feel honored to have shared the field with Joe. His players' love for him, it shows how he touched their lives and it tells who he was as a man. He will be missed. His mark on Penn State and college football will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Joe's family and friends and the entire Penn State community."

Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill: "I got home last night from recruiting and my oldest daughter said she had just heard. Fifteen minutes later, my youngest daughter at Murray State called. That's two girls from a coach's family reacting to it. That really sums up his impact. It hits home. He coached for 60 years with more than 100 players per year. Think about how many lives he touched, how many good things he has done.

"From my family to the Paterno family, our prayers go out to them. It's a sad day for football, but a good day for the man upstairs.

"I would tell people not to forget what that guy has done. To coach for 60 years in one place, that just won't ever happen again. I didn't get to coach against him. But I got to coach in the Big Ten, sit next to him at a meeting and have my picture taken with him. That's something I will never forget."

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald: "The legacy of Joe Paterno will be long lasting — not only as a football coach and mentor, but as a family man. For 62 years, Coach Paterno poured his heart and soul into a football program and university, helping countless young men reach their dreams and goals on the football field before moving on to successful careers and lives as adults. It's hard to fathom the impact that Coach Paterno has had on college football and at Penn State. His insight and wisdom will be missed. We at Northwestern send our condolences to Sue and the Paterno family." 

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio: "On behalf of my immediate family and the Michigan State football family, we express our deepest sympathy to Joe Paterno’s wife Sue, his five children and 17 grandchildren, as well as his extended family, the Penn State football family and the entire State College community.

"Joe dedicated his life to Penn State and college football. He had unparalleled success during his 46 seasons as the head coach at Penn State. Joe was a major player who helped revolutionize the game of college football. In his six-plus decades at Penn State, he influenced and impacted countless numbers of players and people at a championship level.

"Over the past five years, my wife and I have had the privilege of spending time with both Joe and his wife Sue. We appreciated and enjoyed the time spent at our various functions together and will forever remember him as a steward of our profession."

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema: "Coach Paterno obviously did so many wonderful things for a number of years, not only with the success of his teams on the field but the number of lives he shaped. I hope people remember his lifetime achievements. From day one, when I joined the head coaching ranks and was fortunate enough to cross paths with him at coaches meetings and various functions, he was always very engaging and complimentary of the way we did things at Wisconsin and how we played. I enjoyed competing with him at every level. Our Badger football family sends our condolences and deepest sympathies to the Penn State community and the Paterno family."

Wisconsin athletic director and former head coach Barry Alvarez: "Today is a sad day. Joe made a difference. He impacted a lot of people. He made a difference in a community, in a college and in college football. He was truly special and an icon. For someone to continue to do what he did through different generations and for such a long period of time and be effective was amazing. I’ve considered Joe a friend and a mentor. This is sad day for college football and the Penn State community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them and the Paterno family."

For more reaction from State College, follow CBSSports.com's Penn State RapidReports.
Posted on: January 7, 2012 12:27 am
 

Michigan St. DC Pat Narduzzi turns down Texas A&M

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Mark Dantonio did  this past season despite having lost one of his coordinators (offensive overseer Don Treadwell, now Miami (Ohio) head coach) to another coaching position. All the same, there's no doubt he's delighted not to have to prove he could do it again.

Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi officially announced Friday he would be remaining with Dantonio and the Spartans, turning down an offer to join Kevin Sumlin's staff at Texas A&M in the same coordinator's role.

“With the success we’ve had as a football program, especially the last two years, people around the country have taken notice. So when provided a professional opportunity like Texas A&M, I owed it to my family to investigate it because my first obligation is to take care of my wife and children," Narduzzi said in a statement released by Michigan State. 

"The bottom line remains, however, that I’m very comfortable working for Mark Dantonio and Michigan State," he said. "I share the same feelings that our players and coaches have that there’s some unfinished business to take care of here. We’re all driven to win the Big Ten Championship and win a Rose Bowl.

Narduzzi didn't reach his decision solely out of loyalty to his employer, however; Dantonio pushed for across-the-board raises for his staff in the wake of the Spartans Legends division title and Outback Bowl championship, and got them.

“Prior to Texas A&M aggressively pursuing Pat Narduzzi, (MSU Athletics Director) Mark Hollis had already identified the financial resources to make sure that not only Pat, but all of our assistant coaches, had salaries that are competitive in the Big Ten," Dantonio said in the statement. "We understand that our continued success will provide professional opportunities for our student-athletes and coaches alike."

Narduzzi's defenses have taken gigantic leaps forward over the past three seasons, improving from 73rd in 2009 to 43rd in 2010 to a stunning 6th -- tops in the Big Ten -- in 2011. The Spartans also ranked 10th in scoring defense.

All of which makes Narduzzi's decision a serious blow for Sumlin, whose expertise as an offensive coach means the selection of a top-notch defensive mastermind is a must in the defense-driven SEC West. Sumlin's hires have been impressive elsewhere -- snatching recruiting coordinator and special teams coach Bill Polian away from Stanfordbringing over quarterbacks coach and Case Keenum tutor Kliff Kingsbury from Houston -- but without a quality DC, questions are still going to be asked.

Follow both Michigan State and Texas A&M with our Spartan and Aggie RapidReports. 

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 11:40 am
 

DeAnthony Arnett to transfer to Michigan State

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

DeAnthony Arnett's search to find a new football-playing home is going to have a happy ending.

The true freshman Tennessee receiver and Saginaw (Mich.) native was initially being denied an unconditional release by Derek Dooley last week, one that would prevent him from playing on scholarship for either of his preferred programs -- Michigan or Michigan State -- despite his father's ill health. But Tuesday Dooley relented, and Wednesday evening multiple reports made it official: Arnett will transfer to play for Mark Dantonio's Spartans, and per his brother (and the Knoxville News-Sentinel) will be enrolled in classes in East Lansing next week.

Because of his father's health complications, Arnett could receive an NCAA hardship waiver that would allow him to play for Michigan State in 2012 without sitting out the standard transfer penalty season. Per CBSSports.com RapidReporter Dana Gauruder, the loss of the Spartans' top three receivers from their 2011 squad -- not to mention the talent that made Arnett a highly sought-after four-star prospect -- could make Arnett an immediate starter for MSU should he be granted the waiver.

After publicly expressing his frustration with Dooley's initial decision, Arnett also made sure to express his gratitude for Dooley's change of heart after the pair's one-on-one meeting:
"I am sure that my request to leave UT was not the best or most expected news to Coach Dooley," Arnett wrote. "However, he took the time to hear me and understand that I must keep family first at all times. For this reason his decision to release me unconditionally comes as a sign of a compassionate and empathetic coach. I will never be able to express fully my appreciations and gratitude for his decision.
"I want to ensure that all recruits, current players and fans know that the University of Tennessee is headed in the right direction. All good things take time and work. UT has always surpassed the rest and I believe in due time they will be back to the number one program in the SEC."
The cynic in us wonders if publicly declaring to "all recruits" that the wobbly-looking Vols are "headed in the right direction" was a condition for Arnett's release to MSU, but in the end, it doesn't matter. Arnett will be able to attend his school of choice while being closer to his father. Dooley has done the right thing and has earned his commendations. However the pair arrived at this conclusion, everybody involved -- the Spartans most definitely included -- has come out a winner.

HT: GTP. 

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Posted on: January 2, 2012 5:52 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Michigan State 33, Georgia 30, 3OT

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



MICHIGAN STATE WON: Down 16 at halftime, with only 72 yards of offense to their name, and the parallels between their 2012 bowl performance and their 2011 bowl humiliation vs. Alabama looking unavoidable, the Spartans had to be the only people in Tampa thinking they had any shot of coming back and winning the Outback Bowl. But that belief paid off in spades as Kirk Cousins threw for 300 yards and led State to a thrilling 33-30 comeback win in triple overtime. Dan Conroy went 2-for-2 on OT field goals and Rashad White blocked Blair Walsh's 46-yarder on the game's final play to seal the win.

But Georgia fans will argue that the game never should have reached a third overtime after Cousins was picked off on the Spartans' first OT possession. All the Bulldogs needed was a field goal, but Mark Richt chose to have Aaron Murray kneel on second down to set up Walsh on third down--even though the kick was a full 43 yards and Walsh had gone just 19-of-31 this season. To say Walsh's miss will leave Richt in line for some second guessing is an understatement.

WHY MICHIGAN STATE WON: Richt's conservatism -- not just in overtime, but from the moment the Dawgs took that 16-0 lead -- arguably had as much to do with the Spartan win as anything MSU did. But to focus entirely on Georgia's mistakes won't do justice to the determination and guts of Cousins, who took a ton of hits in the early going and was still up for guiding one of the drives of college football's season late--a 10-play, 85-yard masterpiece that took just 1:35 and sent the game to overtime.

Contrast Cousins' poise with that of Murray, whose precision terrorized the Spartans in the first half and much of the second ... but who went an ugly 0-of-4 in overtime and took the sack that led to Walsh's final blocked attempt. Cousins wasn't always exactly John Elway himself -- he finished averaging just 6 yards an attempt and threw three interceptions -- but his cool down the stretch was what ultimately paced his team to the victory.

WHEN MICHIGAN STATE WON: Not until White's block, but that block was set up by William Gholston's crushing sack on third down.

WHAT MICHIGAN STATE WON: An 11th game for the second straight year, but more importantly, the Spartans snapped a five-game bowl losing streak and earned Mark Dantonio his first postseason victory. It also helped the Big Ten avoid an 0-4 start to the day's slate.

WHAT GEORGIA LOST: Not much in the big picture, really; Richt's 10-2 season and SEC East title has already cooled any "hot seat" talk, and win or lose the Dawgs should still enter 2012 as favorites to repeat as divisional champs. But given the ease of Georgia's schedule this past season (and next), the loss may open Richt up to questions as to whether his team is ready to take the next step and beat the high-caliber teams necessary to win the SEC.

THAT WAS CRAZY: It's a shame we haven't even mentioned Georgia corner Brandon Boykin's day yet: all the senior did in his final game as a Bulldog was score on defense (tackling Keshawn Martin on the Spartans' first play from scrimmage for a safety), special teams (on a highlight-reel 92-yard punt return), and offense (catching a 13-yard touchdown out of the backfield after lining up as a running back.)

FINAL GRADE: This one had everything: huge plays, giant momentum swings, NFL-caliber athletes and quarterbacks, seismic coaching decisions, and a desperate team making a desperate comeback for maximum drama. It doesn't get a lot better. A.

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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