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Posts Tagged ‘Carl Pelini’

Looking for Revenue? Let’s Try a Swear Jar

The gold standard for curse-word comeuppance comes via former Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick: Tired of his colorful vocabulary, Billick’s family – I believe his children set the tone – implemented a swear jar; every time Billick let loose, he had to make a contribution. Did it work? Well, Billick did say during an N.F.L. telecast last September that the St. Louis Rams “had some sex with the no-huddle offense” – so old habits die hard, or not at all, even if there’s technically no curse word in that sentence. The latest to hear about his “potty mouth” is Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease, who was caught by an ESPN camera screaming any number of unmentionable dirty words during the Gators’ 27-14 win over Bowling Green.

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    Overall, Not a Banner Weekend for F.B.S.

    Over the course of last year’s opening weekend, F.B.S. teams went a combined 36-2 against F.C.S. opponents. The two losses: Oregon State to Sacramento State (29-28) and Duke to Richmond (23-21). There were other close calls, including Washington’s flirtation with disaster against Eastern Washington, Iowa State’s near-loss experience to Northern Iowa and UTEP’s overtime victory against Stony Brook.

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      Sun Belt Offenses Catch Up With Troy

      While the underdog portion of the Sun Belt was moving forward, Troy was standing still. I don’t mean this in the big picture, but in one specific category: totals plays. Consider this:

      –Troy led the Sun Belt in total plays run from scrimmage in each year from 2007-10. The Trojans averaged 980.3 plays per season, running at least 972 plays each year with a high of 997 plays in 2010.

      –The Trojans’ offense was on the field for 867 plays last fall, which tied Florida International for fifth-most in the Sun Belt. Arkansas State led the way with 1,016 plays, followed by Louisiana-Monroe with 939 plays, Middle Tennessee with 938 plays and Louisiana-Lafayette with 893 plays.

      –And the Trojans weren’t doing more with less. Last year’s offense averaged 5.3 yards per play, a program-low since 2007. Troy averaged 5.9 yards per play in 2010; 6.5 yards per play in 2009. Both totals paced the conference. Two teams, Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette, tied for the S.B.C. lead at 5.7 yards per play last fall.

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        No. 116: Florida Atlantic

        Recent Sun Belt coaching moves have gone in the opposite direction. Over the last two years, Arkansas State has hired Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn. In 2010, Western Kentucky hired former Stanford running backs coach Willie Taggart. Louisiana-Lafayette tabbed Mark Hudspeth last winter; Louisiana-Monroe hired Todd Berry prior to the 2010 season. The conference as a whole has shifted towards an offense-first mentality, to often exciting, he-who-has-the-ball-last-wins results. When Howard Schnellenberger announced his intent to retire at the end of last season, the belief was that Florida Atlantic would follow the rest of the Sun Belt’s lead, perhaps nabbing a Freeze-like up-and-coming assistant. The Owls did nothing of the sort. In Carl Pelini, the university hired the sort of nail-chewing, fire-spewing defensive coach who thinks of offense the same way defensive linemen think of their offensive counterparts: with disdain. And in Pelini, the Owls might have hired the orneriest son-of-a-gun in college football. Don’t think for a second that being ornery is a bad thing.

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          Looking in House, Not Outside the Program

          In the wide number of cases, new coordinators are hired as part of a brand-new staff: see Calvin Magee at Arizona, for example, or Ohio State’s Tom Herman, or Mike Breske at Washington State. If an offensive or defensive coordinator is hired from elsewhere to join an incumbent coaching staff, however, it’s for one of two simple reasons: attrition or incompetence. Likewise for assistant coaches promoted up the ladder from within a staff, as occurred in 10 different instances during the latest coaching cycle. This includes Houston, which replaced Kevin Sumlin with Tony Levine, who in turn replaced former defensive coordinator Brian Stewart with Jamie Bryant.

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            Bottom-Tier Offenses Aim for ’12 Rebound

            Six teams scored less than 200 points in 2012. Five changed head coaches. Memphis went from Larry Porter to former T.C.U. co-offensive coordinator Justin Fuente — and then went from Conference USA to the Big East, though that’s another story altogether. Mississippi followed the same route, trading in Houston Nutt for former Arkansas State head coach Hugh Freeze. Akron swapped Rob Ianello, who won two games in as many years, for former coaching wunderkind Terry Bowden, who was 13 years removed from his last head coaching job on the F.B.S. level.

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              Pelini Reaches Out for Recruiting Help

              Bo Pelini’s fire burns deep, burns long and burns bright, and it’s this never-ending stream of energy that is Nebraska’s greatest strength and, at times, the program’s greatest weakness. You’ve seen the latter in College Station, when Pelini – Bo, and also Carl, now at Florida Atlantic – lost his cool in a penalty-laden loss to Texas A&M. You saw it against Texas in the 2009 Big 12 title game, when Pelini’s gasket burst over the second that wasn’t; there’s red, Nebraska red and Pelini red, and the colors get darker the farther you move down the line. But it’s this energy and drive that also doubles as one of Nebraska’s assets, helping the program overcome many of its own built-in disadvantages.

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                F.A.U. Eyes the Wright Stuff on Offense

                Brian Wright is familiar to fans in the hinterlands of college football, those in the Montana-Idaho-Dakotas region, but his name has never crossed the lips of football fans in the Sunshine State. Or hadn’t, before Carl Pelini named Wright, the former offensive coordinator at Montana State, to the same position at Florida Atlantic, where Pelini is preparing for his first season as Howard Schnellenberger’s successor. Now Wright has become a name to watch, perhaps the most important member of the new F.A.U. staff outside of Pelini himself, thanks to the Owls’ inability to achieve the most basic of offensive achievements in 2011 — you know, like first downs, field goals, touchdowns and the like.

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                  The Countdown

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