Honestly, the only thing surprising about this was to discover that Jimmy Clausen is still occupying space on a NFL roster.
Daily Archives: December 17, 2012
Gregg Doyel is a tool, but I have to admit the same thought crossed my mind when I heard the news about Skip Holtz getting another head coaching gig as this:
Skip Holtz did this to me. Skip Holtz and Louisiana Tech. When that school decided to hire Holtz on Thursday night, something in me cracked. I was reading Bruce Feldman’s news story on the hiring, but I was hearing Jon Embree’s words:
“We don’t get second chances.”
Jon Embree is African-American, and he is — or was — the football coach at Colorado. And he was speaking for the astonishing percentage of African-American football coaches who have been fired and never given another shot at running a Division I-A program.
All told, 41 African-American coaches have been hired at that level. Only one, Tyrone Willingham, has been fired and given a second chance like the one just given to Skip Holtz. Like the ones given to John L. Smith, Gerry DiNardo, Paul Pasqualoni, Hal Mumme and Ron Zook.
Yes, Jon Embree stunk on ice. But it’s not like Skip Holtz was exactly killing it, either.
Now I don’t think this is about overt racism on the part of athletic directors. It’s more about old-fashioned laziness, as Doyel illustrates.
And I’m willing to give Louisiana Tech the benefit of the doubt — sincerely — and state unequivocally that Skip Holtz wasn’t hired because he’s white. He was hired because he’s Skip Holtz. Because his father is Lou Holtz. Because he has a name the average college football fan will recognize, and that’s how you win the news conference at a school like Louisiana Tech. You hire a coach your fans have heard of.
Will time take care of some of this? Sure – more minority coaches mean the recognition factor will increase over time. The success Sumlin and Franklin enjoyed this year will help.
But in the meantime it’s pretty sad to watch Kansas throw money at a hack like Charlie Weis while Randy Shannon can’t get another head coaching job.
There are more than a few programs where you’d never hear anything like this in public. Or this, for that matter. I don’t know whether that’s a feature or a bug, but as a blogger, it certainly provides more grist for the mill.
I’m not offering advice here (or at least not advice that anybody’s going to listen to), but I’d have to say that if Ken Malcome thinks he’s going to take serious time away from Todd Gurley, he’s kidding himself.
On the other hand, if we got this kind of season (a team-leading 40 catches for 572 yards and four touchdowns) from a “rusty” Malcolm Mitchell, I think the coaching staff – Grantham, in particular – ought to pay attention to what he’s saying.
He said he still was “rusty” at receiver even by the Oct. 20 game against Kentucky when he had a career-high nine catches for 103 yards.
“I was out there making plays actually not having the technique down that I needed,” he said. “The way practices are set up, you really can’t gain that during the season. It’s the offseason that allows you to do those type of stuff. Those cuts I was making, they were good enough to catch the ball, but were they good enough to break for a 50-yard gain after that? That just comes with the offseason and I didn’t have the offseason at receiver.”
Jon Solomon makes a pretty strong case that the conferences have done an excellent job of watering down the bowl season. Take this year’s pool of participants:
Twenty of the 35 games (57 percent) involve at least one team that qualified with no more than one victory against a winning Football Bowl Subdivision opponent. Cincinnati won nine games while beating one winning FBS team. Six bowl participants didn’t beat a single winning FBS team: Nevada (7-5), East Carolina (8-4), Central Michigan (6-6), Rice (6-6), Vanderbilt (8-4) and Purdue (6-6).
The Boilermakers’ reward for firing their coach and finishing at .500: Playing on New Year’s Day.
Oh, yeah, New Year’s Day. It used to be special. Nowadays, not so much. There’s been a steady devolution of the product.
From 1953 to 2009, no team without a winning overall record ever played on New Year’s Day — or Jan. 2 in years when Jan. 1 bowls moved to avoid NFL Sundays. That’s happened four times in the past four years.
At first, just brand names (Florida State, Florida and Ohio State) invaded New Year’s Day with a 6-6 record. Purdue joins that club this year by playing Oklahoma State (7-5) in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Jan. 1.
At the 2010 Outback Bowl, Auburn became the first team in 62 years to play on New Year’s with a losing conference record. Six more teams have since followed: Northwestern, Texas Tech, Michigan, Florida, Ohio State and now Purdue.
Mississippi State, Purdue and Wisconsin play on New Year’s this season with either a .500 or losing conference record, meaning that’s occurred in 13 of 33 New Year’s bowls over the past six years. That happened in just six of the 221 New Year’s bowls from 1968 to 2007.
This is what the big conferences want. They had a chance to raise the floor on wins eligibility and took a pass. They could raise standards any time they want to. They just don’t want to do that.
“I think when people went back to their conferences, they found out there’s an awful lot of support for 6-6,” Waters said. “That’s probably a comment on the uniqueness of football’s postseason, that with 35 bowls it means at the end of the year we have 35 winners. That’s 35 athletic directors that get a step up on selling season tickets, and 35 coaches who a month later are going out in recruiting and talking about winning the bowl game.”
Now, personally, I don’t mind having 35 games. But that’s because I love watching college football. And Lord knows I wouldn’t travel to watch most of those games in person. The thing is, I have the unsettling feeling that the people in charge mind my attitude less and less. As more and more TV revenue money floods the system, why should they?
And don’t tell yourself the new playoffs will help stem the tide. They’ll only devalue the downticket games even more. As long as we keep watching, though, that shouldn’t matter. And if we do stop, they’ll just expand the playoffs to get our attention again.
I bet when SOD looks back on what went wrong, the Sal Sunseri hire will eat at him the most. Sure, he had to do something, since most of his 2011 staff bailed on him, but it’s not like there wasn’t plenty of relevant history about how SEC defenses switching to a 3-4 scheme do in their first season.
Surely there was a 4-3 guy out there who would’ve done better than this. If Dooley had hired a new DC who merely held serve from the previous season, it’s likely he’d be getting his team ready for a bowl game today.