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Posts Tagged ‘Derek Dooley’

The 2012 Locksley: Week 3

Blind squirrels are known to stumble upon a nut every now and again, especially if that nut is, say, Maine’s football team. Or if the blind squirrel is Middle Tennessee State and the nut is Florida Atlantic, which houses the only Sun Belt team more impotent than Rick Stockstill’s Blue Raiders. So what to make of these wins? At face value, dates with Maine and the Owls pushed Boston College and Middle Tennessee State into the win column – that’s the biggest takeaway for both the Eagles and Blue Raiders. But beyond that point, what did these wins prove? That B.C. is not good enough to run with Miami (Fla.) but good enough to beat an F.C.S. opponent? That Stockstill’s gang can beat F.A.U. but not McNeese State? The wins prove nothing, in short, because for teams of this quality – or lack thereof – true colors won’t shine until the calendar turns to conference play, and for both B.C. and M.T.S.U., the season looks bleak indeed despite a bump up to .500. The coaching quote of the week come from U.N.L.V.’s Bobby Hauck:

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    The 2012 Locksley: Week 2

    It’s going to be hard to fill a list without names like Callaway, Neuheisel, Nutt – last year’s Locksley winner – Porter, Ianello, Fairchild and Wulff. Hard, but not impossible – not even close to impossible. For every year, like clockwork, an already maligned head coach rolls out of bed, walks into his home stadium and loses to a team like McNeese State, as did Rick Stockstill last Saturday. Stockstill is one of only three head coaches from the final regular season list for last year’s Locksley still standing, joining Boston College’s Frank Spaziani and Central Michigan’s Dan Enos. Rest assured, all three names will feature prominently in the quest for the winner of the 2012 Locksley. The coaching quote of the week comes from Spaziani, whose team dropped a 41-32 decision to Miami (Fla.) in its season opener:

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      No. 28: Tennessee

      It’s time for Tennessee to think positively. Yes, Derek Dooley promised a thorough examination of his coaching staff after last season, especially when the offseason began with a loss to Kentucky fresh in mind – though few thought that Dooley would be forced to undergo such a coaching overhaul. The pessimistic take is that the seven assistant coaches who left U.T. were jumping ship before it ran aground, joining Washington or Nebraska in a quest for better job security. The optimistic take is that the program needed fresh blood and a new voice. The talent is there; perhaps the Volunteers simply need a push in the right direction. Optimistically, the Volunteers may be in a better place, staffing-wise, than they were at the end of the 2011 season. But beware: Dooley won’t get a free pass in 2012 based on the staffing moves. The standards remain the same, with anything less than a seven-win regular season grounds for another major coaching shakeup — beginning with Dooley and continuing with his entire staff.

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        The Year in Review: Wisconsin (11-3, 6-2)

        It’s not quite Tennessee, but it’s close. The Volunteers lost seven assistants off last year’s staff. Bret Bielema and the Badgers lost six assistants, though it seemed, for a day or two, that the total would jump to seven: Earlier this month, running backs coach Thomas Hammock flirted with the St. Louis Rams before choosing to remain with Wisconsin. But you can see why coaches were leaving Derek Dooley and Tennessee en masse; one former assistant, Eric Russell, openly cited the lack of stability in Knoxville as his rationale for joining Mike Leach at Washington State. Other former Dooley assistants couldn’t be faulted for feeling the same way.

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          Two Views of Tennessee’s Staff Shakeup

          It started on Dec. 2, five days after Tennessee capped its season with the program’s first loss to Kentucky since 1984, with the retirement of wide receivers coach Charlie Baggett, a 33-year coaching veteran. Nine days later, special teams coach Eric Russell left to take the same position at Washington State under Mike Leach, his former boss at Texas Tech. On Jan. 2, the Volunteers lost defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon to Washington — this was the most unexpected blow of all. Less than two weeks later, defensive line coach Lance Thompson departed for Alabama. On Jan. 25, offensive line coach Harry Hiestand left Knoxville to join Brian Kelly at Notre Dame.

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            NASCAR Talk, Starring Jerry Glanville

            When I do watch NASCAR, it’s for the same reason as I watch hockey: for the fights. Or the fiery, Michael Bay-approved crash and burns, much like the one unveiled by Juan Pablo Montoya during last night’s already rain-delayed Daytona 500. Crash? Uh, I think Montoya’s breaks went out. Burn? My goodness. Part of me expected a Transformer to burst out of the flames. In summation: NASCAR is better with fire, like most things. And since this needs to involve college football in some fashion — and since it’s most definitely the offseason — let’s add Dana Holgorsen and Jerry Glanville into the conversation.

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              The Year in Review: La. Tech (8-5, 6-1)

              Boise State was gone, so somebody had to step into the void. Nevada was the preseason favorite, which made some sense, though not a tremendous amount. The Wolf Pack may have topped the Broncos in 2010, but this year’s team stepped to the plate with a fraction of the star power. If not Nevada, then Hawaii; the Warriors, winners of 10 games a year ago, were feeling the love. If not either of that pair, then Fresno State — if not now for the Bulldogs, then never. Louisiana Tech? The dark horse’s dark horse: the ignored, dismissed and overlooked conference champ.

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                The 2012 Locksley: Winter Watch List

                They’re the survivors. Purdue’s Danny Hope barely nudged into bowl play, removing himself from the hot seat in the process — and landing a contract extension, in fact. George O’Leary’s common flirtations with mediocrity has led him to alter the makeup of his coaching staff, though he remains entrenched at U.C.F. as the program begins its move to the Big East. Another Conference USA head coache, Rice’s David Bailiff, putters along the road to mediocrity yet seems to experience minimal challenges to his job security. Middle Tennessee State’s Rick Stockstill is made of Teflon, if not some similarly strong fluorocarbon solid, as is UTEP’s Mike Price.

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                  The Countdown

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