Posted on: January 19, 2011 12:46 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Rich Rodriguez may no longer be the head coach at Michigan, but it seems he may have left a legacy behind that will have a lot more to do than his win-loss record with the Wolverines. Rodriguez took a dozen bags of Michigan clothing and memorabilia he had stored in his closet and donated all of it to a nearby Salvation Army. I guess he figured since he wouldn't be needing those shirts and hats any longer, he may as well help others in need.
Which he has certainly done. The 432 items that Rodriguez donated were all auctioned off and sold, and when the bidding was over, the Salvation Army had raised $16,200. All of which will go toward funding an adult rehabilitation center in Romulus.
"In the Salvation Army, we have a saying: Doing the most good," said Major John Aren, the Salvation Army administrator for southeast Michigan. "And I think what Coach Rodriguez did - taking a pressure situation like that and making a most generous donation like he did - was the perfect way of doing the best he could."
The money Rodriguez's donation brought in equaled about half the store's monthly budget, and far surpassed it's average of $1,200 in sales on an average Saturday.
In other words, it was the most successful Saturday of Rodriguez's time in Michigan.
Posted on: January 18, 2011 6:38 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Todd Graham (pictured) is all but finished putting together the new coaching staff at Pitt, officially announcing today what candidates he's chosen to fill eight of his program's nine vacant positions. Where Pitt fans are concerned, probably the most controversial hire will be new defensive coordinator Keith Patterson, who served with Graham as his co-defensive coordinator at Tulsa the previous five years; Panther fans had better hope the Golden Hurricanes' up-tempo offense had a lot to do with their defensive struggles, because otherwise hiring an assistant who oversaw the nation's 110th-ranked defense will end up looking awfully curious.
But where fans of virtually every other school are concerned, the most eyebrow-raising aspect of the announcement is the connection binding three of the other new hires:
Calvin Magee served at Michigan the past three years as associate head coach and offensive coordinator ... Prior to Michigan, Magee spent seven seasons as the running backs coach at West Virginia ...Yep, that's not one, not two, but three different coaches who cut their teeth under Rich Rodriguez at Pitt's archrivals from Morgantown, then followed Rodriguez to his doomed tenure in Ann Arbor. Grabbing three coaches coming off of such a notable failure is one thing; grabbing three coaches coming off of that kind of failure who also happen to be associated with Pitt's one-time public coaching enemy No. 1 is another. Graham had better be right about this, or he likely won't be met with a lot of forgiveness by Panther fans.
Then again, he probably won't need it; though Gibson's secondary was frequently torched by opposing passing attacks, he didn't have a lot to work with (including helpful advice from his defensive coordinator), and neither Magee's offense nor Dews's receivers were remotely the problem for the Wolverines. If the trio can recreate anything like the success they had at West Virginia at Pitt, no one will blink an eye at where they spent their previous stops.
Posted on: January 18, 2011 4:44 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2011 6:24 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
UPDATE: It would seem that they're no longer just talks, considering that Baltimore has now promoted Chuck Pagano to replace Mattison.
It's not exactly a secret that Rich Rodriguez's downfall at Michigan -- aside from that whole Michigan Man malarkey -- was the team's defense in his tenure. More specifically, the lack of defense. It doesn't matter much that your offense can score 30 points a game when it's allowing 35. So one of the first things that new head coach Brady Hoke has to fix if he wants to avoid Rodriguez's fate is the Michigan defense.
And all indications are that he's looking to the NFL to find the man to do it. Several reports on Monday say that current Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison has had talks with Michigan about taking the same role there.
Mattison has ties to both Hoke and Michigan, as both have worked together under Jack Harbaugh at Western Michigan, and at Michigan under Lloyd Carr. In his two seasons as Baltimore's defensive coordinator, where he replaced current Jets head coach Rex Ryan, Mattison's defenses finished third and tenth in the NFL.
If he can bring that kind of success to Ann Arbor, then it may not be long until Michigan is once again competing for Big Ten titles. Though if he has any stuffed animals that he uses as motivational tools, he should probably leave them behind in Baltimore. Maybe bring Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs instead.
Posted on: January 18, 2011 3:34 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
"Headset Reset" is the College Football Blog's series reviewing the 22 new head coaches in the FBS and what they'll need to accomplish in their new jobs to succeed. In this edition: the four new head coaches in the Big East and Mountain West
TODD GRAHAM, Pitt
Why him? Because Mike Haywood got arrested two weeks after he was hired. Also because Graham put together some successful offenses at Tulsa. For 2011, Graham needs to: build a strong offense without the services of Pitt's two best offensive players Jonathan Baldwin and Dion Lewis. Luckily for Graham, Dave Wannstedt recruited good players to Pitt, but Graham will have to mold them to his offense. By 2014, Graham will need to have: won a Big East title and taken the Panthers to a BCS bowl. Dave Wannstedt won more games than he lost at Pitt, but it was the lack of a conference championship in a weak conference that ultimately led to his dismissal. Chances Graham gets what he needs? I'd say they're pretty good. Weak conference or not, Pitt is still in a BCS conference and has the resources to win in college football. Of course, by the time Graham has his stamp on the program, TCU will be a Big East member, so it won't be easy.
DANA HOLGORSEN, West Virginia
Why him? Have you seen West Virginia's offenses under Bill Stewart the last few seasons? Nothing like a Mike Leach disciple who helped put together one of the best offenses in the country at Oklahoma State to infuse life into a dormant scoreboard. For 2011, Holgorsen needs to: bid his time, let Stewart finish his final season, and start getting his offense ready for his ascension in 2012. By 2014, Holgorsen will need to have: won a Big East title and improve the Mountaineers offense enough so that it once again resembles the teams Rich Rodriguez put together. He'll also need to find a quarterback better suited for his system than Geno Smith. Chances Holgorsen gets what he needs? They're very good. Even with the program's struggles under Stewart, they still competed for the Big East title.
PAUL PASQUALONI, UConn
Why him? Well, it came as a bit of a surprise. Pasqualoni hasn't been a head coach or coached on the college level since 2004, spending the time in between in the NFL. Still, the last time he was a head coach he was a rather successful one at Syracuse in the Big East. So he knows what it takes to win in this conference. For 2011, Pasqualoni needs to: silence the doubters. We know that Pasqualoni can coach, but will the lay off and his age (he'll be 62 when UConn kicks off its season) prove to be too much for him? By 2014, Pasqualoni will need to have: maintained what Randy Edsall started at UConn. I'm not sure he'll have to win a Big East title to keep his job, but at the least he'll have to continue to build the program for his eventual successor. Chances Pasqualoni gets what he needs? Not great, but not terrible. UConn has always been a basketball school first and foremost, but who knows how a trip to the Fiesta Bowl will affect the schools interest in building a winning football team?
ROCKY LONG, San Diego State
Why him? Because Brady Hoke left, and had built something at SDSU that Long was a part of. The school didn't want to risk losing any momentum by starting a coaching search. Plus, Long has head coaching experience from his time at New Mexico. For 2011, Long needs to: continue the rise that Hoke started. Since Marshall Faulk left for the NFL, the Aztecs weren't exactly a football powerhouse before Hoke came along. The good news is that Long inherits some talent in Ronnie Hillman and Ryan Lindley. By 2014, Long will need to have: kept San Diego State competing in the Mountain West. With Utah, BYU and TCU leaving, the conference becomes a lot easier to win. Chances Long gets what he needs? Not great. San Diego State just doesn't have the established history to make me think they'll do whatever it takes to help Long build this team into a powerhouse. What Long will have working for him, however, is the fertile recruiting base of southern California.
Tags: Big East, Bill Stewart, Brady Hoke, BYU, Dana Holgorsen, Dave Wannstedt, Dion Lewis, Geno Smith, Headset Reset, Jonathan Baldwin, Marshall Faulk, Mike Haywood, Mike Leach, Mountain West, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Paul Pasqualoni, Pitt, Randy Edsall, Rich Rodriguez, Rocky Long, Ronnie Hillman, Ryan Lindley, San Diego State, Syracuse, TCU, Todd Graham, Tulsa, UConn, Utah, West Virginia
Posted on: January 14, 2011 2:41 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Brady Hoke is the new head coach at Michigan (perhaps you've heard). Hoke hasn't filled out his entire staff yet, but one move he was expected to make was bringing his strength & conditioning coach from San Diego State ; being as that's the case, that means it's the end of the line for Michigan S&C coach Mike Barwis. The fact that QB Devin Gardner bid Barwis a farewell on Twitter means all that's left is the formality of an official announcement.
Now, there are now no more open head coaching opportunities in the FBS as we speak, and that means barring something weird happening, Rich Rodriguez will not be a FBS head coach for the 2011 season. He can spend the season with his family and/or making spot appearances on ESPN, and that's a fine way to pass a year or two between coaching gigs -- especially with the generous buyout Michigan gave him as part of the severance. Barwis didn't get the $2.5 million Rodriguez got, however, and it would be a surprise if he didn't actively pursue a different job for the coming season.
Therefore, the Rodriguez-Barwis connection and Michigan-Barwis connections are both effectively over, which means there is a high-level S&C coach available to anyone who wants one. And make no mistake, Barwis is still a high-level coach; his players at West Virginia under Rodriguez were fast, strong, and mean, as typified by fullback Owen Schmitt (the "runaway beer truck," as he was called by one announcer). Barwis is a new-school type of coach, emphasizing fast-twitch muscle development, agility, and endurance more than 40 times and basketball-sized biceps. In fact, he doesn't look like a typical old-school S&C coach: so thick-necked and bald that they usually look like thumbs with faces. I say that with love.
Bringing in a new S&C regime (which is to say: different methods, not just a different guy assigning the same workouts) along with a new coach has a track record of success; at Iowa , for one example, Kirk Ferentz hired Chris Doyle from Utah and made Doyle's intense workouts the centerpiece of Iowa's campaign to turn its fortunes around. The Hawkeyes were in a bowl by the third year and in the Top 10 by the fourth, and the fact that the turnaround was led by lightly-recruited players who ended up All-Americans like Bob Sanders , Robert Gallery , and Dallas Clark speaks volumes about Doyle's influence on the program's success. And while Barwis shouldn't promise he can make All-Americans out of walk-ons, he can point to Doyle's work at Iowa and his own at West Virginia as proof of what a fresh approach to strength and conditioning can do for a football program.
Of course, Barwis can and should expect to be asked why Michigan looked so physically unprepared -- especially on defense -- three years into the Rich Rodriguez era. But really, there's only so much an S&C coach can accomplish when the team has to continually throw out freshmen to play against juniors and seniors. Yes, a player typically sees the most improvement earliest in his time in a strength and conditioning program, and yes, there are diminishing returns by the fifth year. But diminishing returns or not, the aggregation of conditioning plus both in-game and practice experience had by a senior in any program is generally more than a freshman should be expected to overcome. That's more on Rich Rodriguez and Greg Robinson than anybody else, and when Barwis find a coach that agrees with that assessment and needs to make a hire at S&C, he'll probably have a job shortly thereafter.
Posted on: January 13, 2011 6:31 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2011 6:31 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
One of the biggest question marks surrounding the hire of Brady Hoke at Michigan was how his stated preference for a smashmouth, pro-style offense would mesh with the handpicked spread-n'-shred personnel left over from the Rich Rodriguez regime--specifically, reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Denard Robinson.
The marriage appeared to be such a bad one (particularly once it became public knowledge that Hoke would be bringing West Coast offense proponent Al Borges with him from San Diego State to run the Wolverine attack) that many have expected Robinson to transfer. And for his part, Robinson has declined comment when publicly asked if he would return for his junior season in Ann Arbor. But Hoke was expected to meet with Robinson yesterday, and on local radio this afternoon, he said that Wolverine fans had nothing to worry about :
The story's not over just yet; until Robinson himself declares that he'll be in maize-and-blue this fall, there's still enough wiggle room for a change of heart.
But if Hoke is confident enough to point-blank say that Robinson is sticking around, clearly the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of Robinson staying. Breathe a little easier, Michigan fans.
Posted on: January 13, 2011 12:53 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Pat Fitzgerald has accomplished quite a bit as the head coach at Northwestern. No, the Wildcats haven't won any Big Ten titles or made any BCS bowls under Fitzgerald, but given the school's football history, the fact that he consistently puts together winning seasons is nothing to take for granted. Plenty of other programs have noticed what the 36-year old head coach has done, and his name pops up quite a bit when it comes to coaching searches.
In fact, the word is that Fitzgerald was on Michigan's short-list to replace Rich Rodriguez, but he turned down an interview request. He's turned down a lot of interviews in recent years, showing a loyalty to the school he attended that Northwestern has noticed. Now it seems the school is looking to return the favor, as according to the Chicago Tribune, Northwestern is working on a lifetime contract for Fitzgerald.
Toward the end of his Northwestern tenure, Ara Parseghian felt underappreciated — even though his final two teams spent time ranked among the nation's top 5.
Top NU officials are so determined not to let the same thing happen with coach Pat Fitzgerald, they are working on a lucrative and comprehensive contract extension that they hope will make him a Northwestern lifer.
It is expected to be formalized in the next few weeks.
Fitzgerald already has a deal through 2015, but athletic director Jim Phillips met with him in November and told him the school wanted to enhance it after the season — plus address any issues Fitzgerald had regarding NU's commitment to the program.Fitzgerald, who played linebacker for Northwestern during its last trip to the Rose Bowl in 1996, took over the program after the unexpected death of Randy Walker in 2006. Since then he's gone 34-29 in five seasons, leading the Wildcats to three bowl games.
Posted on: January 12, 2011 1:29 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2011 1:59 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The last time Michigan underwent a coaching transition, Ryan Mallett walked out the door towards stardom at Arkansas. And it's not looking much better for the Wolverines this go-round, either, with Denard Robinson notably non-committal in the wake of Michigan's Gator Bowl defeat and Tate Forcier not even enrolled in the school, as reported today by the Michigan Daily :
Forcier, a Sport Management major in the School of Kinesiology, was academically ineligible to play in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. on Jan. 1.With Jan. 25 as the final date to add classes at Michigan, there remains the possibility that Forcier will re-enroll. And after older brother Chris Forcier transferred out of Michigan several years ago only to be unable to find traction with any other programs, the family has said they're not interested in going the transfer route.
But that was before much of the rockiness of this season, when Forcier was beaten out for the starting job by Robinson in the spring, had his work ethic publicly criticized by teammate Troy Woolfolk (who was then, stunningly, praised for his actions by Rich Rodriguez ), watched Robinson become the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and finally was forced to sit out the bowl game with academic issues. Considering that Forcier had been hailed as a true freshman savior just 12 months prior, Forcier's 2010 in Ann Arbor must have been a crushing disappointment.
With the expected arrival of West Coast offense coordinator Al Borges, Forcier could have an opportunity to earn back the Michigan job; Borges' pro-style attack seems much better suited to the more-accurate arm of Forcier than the dynamic legs of Robinson, who may not even bother to try to win the job in the first place. But a fresh start somewhere else may simply be too tempting for Forcier at this point, and if Robinson follows him out of town, redshirt freshman Devin Gardner will be the Wolverines' 2011 quarterback by default.
Gardner's got a ton of talent. But another year with a first-time starter at the controls -- the fourth straight for Michigan -- isn't what anyone in Ann Arbor would prefer.
UPDATE: Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon confirmed at Brady Hoke's introductory press conference that Forcier is not currently a member of the Wolverine program. It would appear that Forcier's time at Michigan is all but officially over.