Tag:Pac-12
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:20 pm
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UCLA hires Redskins' Spanos as D coordinator

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Jim L. Mora has finished filling out his initial coaching staff at UCLA, dipping into the NFL ranks one more time to hire his ninth assistant--and his first defensive coordinator.

That hire is Washington Redskins linebacker coach Lou Spanos, who Mora introduced with a statement Tuesday afternoon. A longtime NFL veteran, Spanos spent one season with the Redskins after 15 as part of a Pittsburgh Steeler defensive staff that oversaw some of the NFL's best units during that span.

"I am thrilled a coach with Lou's NFL background and defensive pedigree has agreed to join our staff. Now that our coaching staff is complete, I'd like to thank [athletic director] Dan Guerrero for his support as we sought to bring the finest coaches in football to UCLA," Mora said. "We have a collection of men that will not only be mentors to our student-athletes, but given their experience at the highest levels of football, will also be able to provide them a blueprint for competing and winning, and reaching their athletic potential."

Spanos has his work cut out for him; he takes over a Bruins defense that finished 89th in total defense this past season and 94th in 2010. He'll also have to climb that hill without any experience as a coordinator at either the pro or collegiate level.

Fortunately for the Bruins, Mora has plenty of that kind of experience; between the two of them, there's no shortage of NFL-tested experience ready on the defensive side of the ball. Thanks to other hires out of the pro ranks like linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich and strength and conditioning coach Sal Aloisi, the Bruin staff (per the announcement) "have over 90 years of experience in NFL as either players or coaches."

How much that experience is worth remains to be seen, since plenty of college staffs have been built around the idea of "NFL experience" before and failed miserably. But on paper, Mora has built the kind of staff that should be able to compete in the Pac-12.

Want more Bruins football? Follow our CBSSports.com UCLA RapidReports, written by Sean Ceglinsky. 

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 1:23 am
 

QB Nick Montana transferring from Washington

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

No one at Washington is going to complain about Keith Price's breakout sophomore season under center for the Huskies. But it does appear to have cost them their backup quarterback--and for whatever it was worth, the name recognition that had come along with him.

Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian confirmed Monday that redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Montana has asked for -- and received -- his release from the Washington program. Montana appeared in six games during his Husky career, completing 24 of his 42 attempts with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. In his only start, a dispiriting 38-21 loss to Oregon State on Nov. 19, Montana threw for two scores but averaged just 3.8 yards per his 21 attempts. 

According to reports, Montana intends to transfer to one of two possible JUCO destinations -- Blinn College in Texas, or El Camino in California -- before eventually returning to the FBS ranks. 

Montana is (of course) the son of none other than Joe Montana, but even that kind of bloodline wasn't going to be enough to wrest the starting job away from Price, not given the sophomore's outstanding 36-touchdown campaign and Montana's poor performance in his single audition as the starter. Price had already beaten out Montana twice in head-to-head battles on the depth chart, first for the right to back up Jake Locker in 2010 and then to be the starter in 2011.

Though more a high-level than elite-level recruit coming out of Thousand Oaks, Calif. in the class of 2010, Montana nonetheless boasted offers from many of the top schools in the nation--including his father's alma mater, Notre Dame. If Montana can continue to develop at JUCO, the Irish may or may not take a renewed interest. But given his last name, don't expect the possibility of that connection to get dismissed anytime between now and the end of his JUCO tenure.

For the complete Eye on CFB coverage of the Pac-12, click here. 

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 3:24 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 5:12 pm
 

Washington adds Cal's Tosh Lupoi to staff

Posted by Chip Patterson

Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian sought to improve his defense over the offseason, and on Monday announced a new addition to the coaching staff that could bring much more than just first-hand Pac-12 experience. After spending four years as Cal's defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator, Tosh Lupoi has been named defensive line coach and defensive run game coordinator at Washington.

“Coach Lupoi is a terrific young coach and a dynamic recruiter,” Sarkisian said in the school's release. “He will have an immediate impact with our team both on the field and in recruiting.”

This will be Lupoi's first move from Berkley since arriving as a freshman defensive lineman in 2000. After finishing his career with the Golden Bears in 2005, Lupoi spent two seasons as a graduate assistant before taking over as defensive line coach. In the last two seasons Cal has led the Pac-12 in total defense, but Lupoi's most impressive credentials have come from his efforts on the recruiting trail.

Lupoi was named the 2010 Rivals Recruiter of the Year, and each of the last two signing classes have ranked in the Top 15 according to most prominent scouting services. Cal's current crop of 2012 recruits ranks No. 9 on MaxPreps's recent ranking of the Top 25 classes.  CBSSports.com's Bryan Fischer writes that Lupoi's addition "will undoubtedly impact both Washington and Cal's recruiting classes this year and in the future."

Don't think this will have an effect on Pac-12 recruiting? Current Cal verbal commit Shaq Thompson (MaxPreps No. 5 overall prospect) offered the following after Lupoi's move became official:



For much more on the impact of Lupoi's addition to Washington's recruiting, check out Bryan Fischer and the Eye On Recruiting.  

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 2:03 pm
 

Report: Nussmeier to be Alabama's new OC

Posted by Tom Fornelli

According to a report from al.com, Washington offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier is set to become the new offensive coordinator at Alabama. With the holiday on Monday, there is no scheduled announcement for the hire.

Nussmeier has been the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Washington under Steve Sarkisian for the last three years. If he does leave to take the Alabama job, he'll be replacing Jim McElwain who left Tuscaloosa to take the head coaching job at Colorado State. Ironically, this would be the second time that Nussmeier has taken over a position left vacant by McElwain.

Before taking the job at Washington, Nussmeier was an offensive coordinator at Fresno State, taking that job after McElwain left to become Alabama's offensive coordinator.

After averaging 26.1 and 21.8 points per game in Nussmeier's first two seasons at Washington, the Huskies offense averaged 33.4 points per game in 2011, while gaining 409.8 yards per game.

Nussmeier would also be the second new coaching hire at Alabama since the Crimson Tide won the national championship last week. Lance Thompson will be returning to Tuscaloosa from Tennessee to take his old job of linebackers coach.

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Posted on: January 14, 2012 9:04 pm
 

Oregon's Darron Thomas entering NFL Draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

College football underclassmen have until January 15th to declare themselves eligible for the draft, and we have a rather surprising declaration with only a few hours to go before that deadline hits. Oregon announced on Saturday night that quarterback Darron Thomas has decided to forego his senior season in Eugene and will instead enter the NFL Draft.

“I came to this decision on behalf of myself and my family,” Thomas said in the official release. “I have a dream of playing in the NFL and I’m going to pursue those dreams.

“I would like to thank everyone in Oregon for all their support and I would thank the coaches for all their help, especially Coach (Chip) Kelly. I love my teammates and wish them the best of luck, and am confident they will continue the winning tradition that has been established. Last but not least, I thank all the Oregon fans for their help and support.”

It's a move that was so unexpected that Thomas isn't even listed among CBSSports.com's position rankings at quarterback. Which makes it hard to predict where Thomas would go in the draft, if at all.

Thomas threw for 5,910 yards and 66 touchdowns during his career with the Ducks, all while completing 61.2% of his passes.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home 

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Posted on: January 13, 2012 5:15 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 5:19 pm
 

BCS headed toward plus-one, but still roadblocks

Posted by Bryan Fischer

INDIANAPOLIS -- The move toward a BCS plus-one has been gaining support following a commissioners meeting in New Orleans this week and was given a further shot in the arm with the support of NCAA president Mark Emmert on Thursday.

Still, roadblocks remain among the presidents controlling and ultimately the discussion about college football's postseason.

"I think that our position is we like the way the current system works," Oregon State president Ed Ray said. "The Rose Bowl is pretty damn special so we're pretty protective of that. I'm sure Larry (Scott) hasn't gone into considerations that there is an imperative to change. I understand the public feels that way but I don't. I think the most realistic change, if any, is the plus-one because the structure exists."

Representatives from the 11 BCS conferences met in New Orleans following the national title game to begin the process of re-working the system ahead of negotiations for a new contract that will start with the 2014 season. Although the general consensus amongst presidents and athletic directors at the annual NCAA convention is that there is likely a move to a plus-one with the new deal, there are plenty of skeptics of changing a system that, in their eyes, is working fine.

"I'm still not enamored with expanding the number of BCS games," said Nebraska channcellor Harvey Perlman. "I'm not in favor of a playoff, I have yet to hear a good reason why we would want one. I've spent a lot of time over the last several years as to why a playoff is bad. I'd like to hear one why it would be good and what it would accomplish. The only one I ever hear is that it would give us an undisputed national champion."

Arizona State president Michael Crow told CBSSports.com on Wednesday that he is supportive of an 8-team playoff run by the NCAA. While the position has not been formally proposed, it does appear to be on one extreme of the Spectrum where no two people are on the same page.

"I think (a playoff) would undermine the regular season or add games or undermine the bowls," Perlman said. "We don't need it. We have a regular season that is as much of a playoff as anything that could be constructed artificially. Why would you want it? Football isn't basketball."

"if there is a change, I think it will occur incrementally," Ray added. "The next incremental change would then be to make the plus-one structure to where you have two semifinals and a final. Beyond that I don't know but sometimes you get surprised."

There has been talk that the Cotton Bowl, thanks to Jerry Jones' money and the largess of Cowboys Stadium, would be in play as a fifth BCS bowl come 2014. Perlman doesn't believe that will be the case, with a more likely scenario of the BCS evolving into a #1 vs. #2 matchup and the rest of the bowls reverting back to conference tie-ins. That scenario is one that many think Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany would be supportive of.

"I don't think (Delany) is convinced yet," Perlman said of a plus-one. "We're all in conversations and I think we're going to have a teleconference soon. We'll have to see how it goes."

From the sounds of it, there could be a bumpy road to BCS change.

Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:07 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 2:10 pm
 

ASU president on Todd Graham: "It was not normal"

Posted by Bryan Fischer

INDIANAPOLIS -- To say the departure of head coach Todd Graham from Pittsburgh was messy might be understating things a little. Not only was it a surprising hire by Arizona State, but the reaction from Panthers players elevated to the point of vitriol.

Nearly a month after Graham was formally introduced in Tempe, Arizona State president Michael Crow, speaking on a panel at the NCAA convention, said that the reason there was such a fuss about him leaving was due in large part because of the Pitt administration.

"We made one offer and had one answer. It was a simple process," Crow said. "He caught a lot of flak because he was unable to talk to his team. We requested permission to speak to him and (Pitt) said no. For him to speak to us, he had to resign and then he could no longer speak to his players. We don't set those rules, we asked for an opportunity and didn't get it."

Graham is one of several new hires in the Pac-12 known primarily for fast-paced offense, which is interesting when you consider he was defensive coordinator at West Virginia and Tulsa. Still, outside of last season at Pitt, where the Panthers ranked 88th in the country in total offense and struggled with turnovers, Graham had the background that fit with exactly what Arizona State was looking for.

"What we set out to do was hire a head coach who had experience in playing football the way we wanted to - no huddle offense," Crow said. "We wanted the environment of a teach as opposed to the model of a professional coach. It's just a different model. We happen to think that in our environment, that's the model that we need. When we looked around the country, there were a few individuals on the list and Coach Graham was one of them."

The school was aware that Graham's father-in-law lives in Arizona and that he and his wife were already looking at houses in the Phoenix area before the ASU job even opened up. Because of a long interview process, Crow was one of several administrators who didn't seem to have a problem with the fact that their new head coach would have two "one-and-done" coaching stops on his resume and was firmly committed to building the program into a conference title contender.

"When you sit and spend hours with someone and talk to references about them, you get a better sense of the character of the person," he said. "You go from Tulsa to Rice and then back to Tulsa in one year, what's the reason? You talk to the people at Rice and you find out yes, there was a reason. You go to Pittsburgh and ask why you go to Pittsburgh, why don't you like Pittsburgh, what's going on? There's an explanation, coaches can have explanations like 'My family doesn't like it here, we'd really like to be somewhere else.'

"I'm not worried about that as an element of his character. His body of work as an assistant coach, as a high school coach, at Rice, why he moved from Rice back to Tulsa where he'd been an assistant (is good). The Pittsburgh thing I saw as an aberration. It was not his normal behavior."

We're guessing a few people in the Northeast disagree however.


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