Hello, offseason rumor. Haven’t heard from you in a couple of years. How you been?
There is so much to love about the first two paragraphs of Robbie Andreu’s paean to Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease:
Successful coordinators at Florida tend to not stick around very long. They move on and move up to a head coaching job. It’s a natural progression that many have followed, including Bob Stoops, Dan Mullen and Charlie Strong.
Brent Pease seems to be on that path now, especially after his UF offense decimated the No. 1 defense in the nation in the Gators’ victory over Florida State a few weeks back. Pease is on the path, but if you listen to him, it’s obvious he’s not blindly streaking down it ready to grab the first opportunity that comes along.
My first thought as I read that was at a high-profile program like Florida, three coordinators in fifteen years progressing to head coaching jobs isn’t a particularly spectacular track record. (And as for not sticking around for very long, Charlie Strong spent eight years as Florida’s DC before moving on. But I digress.)
My second thought was “what, no Charlie Weis?”. Hey, he fits the pattern. Although we can debate whether the term “successful” applies to him. But in any event, I’m sure as hell having a hard time seeing how it applies to the guy whose offense finished twelfth in the conference in yardage and tenth in scoring this season. If that’s how Andreu measures success, there are a bunch of SEC offensive coordinators who are more than ready for prime time. I’ll have some of whatever he’s drinking, thanks.
Mark Richt wouldn’t have a problem if kickoffs were abolished tomorrow. But Kirk Olivadotti would.
“At the end of the day, shoot, it’s out of my pay grade, whatever they tell us to do we’ll do,” Olivadotti said. “But it’s an exciting play, it’s a play that I know there’s guys that started their playing career at Georgia. Or shoot, in the NFL, there’s guys that played for me for seven years making a million a year and they covered kickoffs and punts. That’s what they did. So guys make a living off doing that stuff too, so that might be where having a kickoff team is important.
“So that’s where I’d lean personally. I do understand the injury aspect. You’re never gonna eliminate injuries. But you want to limit them as much as you can.”
That is… interesting. He’s got a point that there are plenty of student-athletes on a college roster who only see the field because of special teams play. But safety concerns are legitimate.
When Georgia recruit Tramel Terry was tore his ACL in the Shrine Bowl on Saturday, the reaction in many quarters was to say it was another reason for these players not to participate in All-Star Games. That’s a valid debate to have, but here’s another part of it:
Terry was injured on the opening kickoff. The kickoff remains the play with the most instances of injury, which is why both the NFL and college football have taken steps to minimize the play.
So maybe you split the baby. If you eliminate kickoffs, do you need 85 players on scholarship? Maybe if some of those kids go elsewhere, they’ll have a better chance to play. And play more safely.
I wrote this back in 2009 after the Laner talked Mike Hamilton into throwing large sums of cash at assistant coaches:
On the other hand, spending wads of cash to hire assistants makes perfect sense from the head coach’s standpoint. It’s the southern-fried football version of George Steinbrenner’s method of running a sports operation. Relatively speaking, you’ve got more money than you know what to do with. Unlike George, you can’t spend the moolah on the players, so you spend it on the next closest thing. Will it work? I dunno – when’s the last time the Yankees won the World Series?
How prescient was that? Pretty damned so, if you ask me.
Clemson’s assistants — at a combined total of more than $4.2 million, including outside income — are the highest-paid group among the 102 public schools for which USA TODAY Sports could obtain 2012 pay information for at least eight of the nine assistants generally allowed by NCAA rules. There are 124 FBS schools.
LSU’s assistants also are collecting more than $4 million. Seven other schools have assistants totaling more than $3 million in compensation: Texas, Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Oregon, Florida State and Oklahoma State.
Last year, six schools had $3 million assistant-coaching staffs. In 2009, there was one: Tennessee’s, at $3.3 million.
And just imagine where this is going as the new TV moneys trickle through the system. Right now, Clemson’s offensive coordinator is making more than half of the FBS head coaches this season, and more than 41 entire assistant-coaching staffs. That’s a trend on the upswing.
What’s the over/under on Bobo’s raise?
UPDATE: John Pennington breaks down the numbers for the SEC coaching staffs here. On a cost per win basis, Georgia was efficient. Florida was even more so, proving, I guess, that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I’m not linking to this article to mock the fact that Florida is lagging behind Louisville in Sugar Bowl ticket sales – it’s a nice bonus, admittedly, but I doubt that the Gator fans will find themselves outnumbered in New Orleans – but because I wonder if Louisville isn’t on to something.
As of Friday, Louisville had sold more than 14,000 of its allotment of 17,500 tickets while the Gators had sold about only 6,500.
Thanks to a donation from Papa John’s Pizza, headquartered in Louisville, the Cardinals will likely come close to selling them all.
Louisville announced Friday that Papa John’s donation will push terrace – or 600 level – seats down from a cost of $135 to $65. Cardinals’ assistant athletic director Amy Blevins-Morgan said the school sent out an e-mail blast Friday morning and already a large number of Cardinals fans had responded.
What that’s done is essentially to allow Louisville to match prices with the secondary ticket market.
Blevins-Morgan and Florida officials said the secondary ticket market is tough competition. Secondary ticket brokers, like Stubhub, Ticketexchange and Ticketcity, have plenty of Sugar Bowl tickets on their web sites and most are cheaper than the face value of the seats.
Stubhub, for instance, had about 3,800 tickets for sale on its website Sunday afternoon, beginning at $36 for Terrace corner level seats. Even lower level seats, for Plaza Sideline 112 as an example, were priced at $155. Tickets for the Sugar Bowl range from $135 to $200 at face value.
“We want to have a great representation,’’ Blevins-Morgan said Friday. “I know there will be a lot of Cardinal fans there. I know we’ve been competing with that secondary market so this (Papa John’s donation) will help us with that last push of tickets to be able to be competitive with what people can buy on the secondary market.’’
If you’re a school stuck with selling off a mandatory bowl game ticket allotment – and each of these schools has to sell 17,500 tickets – doesn’t it make sense to fight fire with fire? Better to sell thousands of tickets at a discount than to eat their cost in toto. Or, in Louisville’s case, if you can get a wealthy backer of the program to pitch in, so much the better.
If Coach Richt is indeed serious about taking the reins of special teams coaching next year, then he needs to find a way to spend some up close and personal time with Mike Priefer.
Who is Mike Priefer, you ask? Priefer is the Minnesota Vikings special teams coach. He’s also the guy who was confident this past summer that he could fix what ailed Blair Walsh during Walsh’s last year in Athens. Turns out he was dead on about that.
Walsh set team records for field goals of at least 50 yards in a game (three) and a season (eight). He also increased his team record for kickoff touchbacks by six to 47 in 14 games. And, oh yeah, with two games left in the season, his eight 50-yarders tied the league single-season record held by NFL all-time scoring leader Morten Andersen (1995) and Lions kicker Jason Hanson (2008).
Walsh is 29-32 on field goals this year. He was 21-35 in that department his senior season. I’d call that pretty dramatic improvement. You can either chalk it up to Walsh getting his love life under control, or Priefer knowing what he’s talking about.
“He was rushing every kick,” Priefer said. “Every kick he missed, he hit them well, but he was much too fast with his get off time. I don’t know if that was what he was coached to do, maybe that’s what he wanted to do.
“Usually you watch the ball get snapped to start (the) approach. I have him watching the holder’s hands. When the holder lifts up his left hand, that’s when he’s going. That’s what I’ve been coaching for years.”
Me, I’m picking the latter.
And while Richt is on the road talking with kicking gurus, his punter wouldn’t mind if he’d find somebody in that department whose brain could be picked.