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Posts Tagged ‘Brady Hoke’

Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 3 (Sept. 15)

Do you remember the last time Notre Dame took a trip to East Lansing? You might not remember the game’s first 60 minutes and change, but that’s fine: things didn’t get wild until overtime, when Michigan State answered a Notre Dame field goal with the most audacious coaching decision of the 2010 season. Now you remember, right? Dan Conroy is lined up for the potentially game-tying 46-yard field goal; Aaron Bates, the punter and team captain, was the holder; tight end Charlie Gantt was lined up one spot inside from the edge to Conroy’s right. The call: “Little Giants.” The snap went to Bates, as expected – and then came the unexpected. You’ll see the rest of the play later tonight, when the Irish and Spartans meet in one of the day’s marquee games. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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    No. 18: Michigan

    How was your first season? It’s not easy, I know. Did you reverse a losing culture? Nice. Did you lay the groundwork? Phew. Did you set the foundation? They’re not the same. Did you establish the running game, control the line of scrimmage, play 60 minutes, force turnovers, play hard? Good work. But did you rebuild? No? Why not? Because you’re Michigan, period? Hey, your words, not mine. Let me guess: You reversed a losing culture, laid the groundwork, set the foundation, establish the running game, controlled the line of scrimmage, played 60 minutes, forced turnovers, played hard and didn’t rebuild, because you’re Michigan. Oh, and you won 11 games, reached a B.C.S. bowl, won a B.C.S. bowl. But did you beat Ohio? Well, what didn’t you do?

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      Comparing Lembo to MAC’s Recent Past

      A brief history of the MAC. As it pertains to quick turnarounds, to be more specific. Pete Lembo went 6-6 in his first season at Ball State, matching the Cardinals’ combined win total over the previous two years — a period otherwise known as the Stan Parrish era. If this sort of development continues, it stands to reason that Ball State will at least make a strong challenge for the MAC West title in 2012. But rarely does this sort of progression occur in the MAC; instead, it often takes at least two full seasons before a once-moribund program can surpass the rest of the pack.

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        Tigers Go as Far as Fuente Takes Them

        Memphis isn’t the only team looking to reverse a recent slide heading into 2012, and the Tigers certainly aren’t the only team that has attempted to do so over the last five years. Last fall, 13 teams lost 10 or more games; of the 13, seven made a coaching change either during last season or shortly thereafter. At least 10 teams have suffered double-digit losses in each of the last five years, including six – Memphis, U.N.L.V., New Mexico, North Texas, Washington State and Idaho – who have done so at least three times. So Justin Fuente and Memphis aren’t alone.

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          The F.B.S. and the N.C.A.A. Tournament

          Just a few notes on college football and the N.C.A.A. tournament, with the latter now down to 32 teams and counting:

          1. There were two rematches in the round of 64. Each went along familiar lines: Iowa State beat Connecticut, just as the Cyclones did on the road in September. Kentucky beat Western Kentucky, just as it did during non-conference play. If you recall, those were two of the ugliest games of the season: Steele Jantz threw three interceptions — two on back-to-back throws — in Iowa State’s 24-20 win, while Kentucky’s play in its 14-3 win had the Hilltoppers’ Andrew Jackson asking, “They supposed to be SEC?”

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            The Year in Review: Michigan St. (11-3, 7-1)

            Last fall, Michigan State beat Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan and a team from the SEC in one season for the first time in program history. This isn’t surprising: Michigan State has won only six games against SEC competition in its history, with four of those wins coming from 1929-1947. What is surprising, however, is the fact that the Spartans beat the Buckeyes, Badgers and Wolverines in the same season for only the second time in program history; the first, in 1987, came during the Spartans’ last outright Big Ten title. Rare? Heck, beating Ohio State and Michigan in the same season is rare enough for Michigan State.

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              All’s Fair in Love, War and Recruiting

              Forget about the fact that Urban Meyer has only been at Ohio State for two months, because it doesn’t matter. Ignore the fact that he’s still seven months away from actually leading the Buckeyes onto the field in a game that counts, because it doesn’t mean a thing. Meyer may be new in town, but that hasn’t stopped him from climbing into the head of nearly every coach in the Big Ten, thanks to a national signing day haul that left all but Michigan’s Brady Hoke in the dust. It’s Hoke, after all, who went toe-to-toe with Ohio State’s newly-minted recruiting giant and more than held his own; it’s also Hoke, reached for comment yesterday, who told an Ohio television station that recruits who have given another program their verbal commitment are still fair game.

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                A Few New Coaches Hit the Trail Running

                A rookie head coach can offer the keys to the kingdom. That’s the usual pitch for a new staff, one that plays on the idea that unlike his predecessor, in most cases, the new head coach will be one who builds the dynasty. So be the missing piece: play immediately, for starters, but also become known as the one recruit who turned the tide. It’s a pitch that’s worked for generations, heading all the way back to Bear Bryant’s initial turn at Texas A&M more than a half-century ago and continuing with coaches like Urban Meyer, whose 2006 class at Florida ranks among the best in college football history. And a few rookie coaches, as well as a few coaches completing their first full recruiting haul – those who had only a few months to fill out a class last winter – are again using this approach to land a top 10 class in 2012.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.