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Posts Tagged ‘Houston Nutt’

The 2011 Locksley: Trophy Presentation

I think the axe has stopped falling, meaning there shouldn’t be another firing in the F.B.S. until 2012. But never say never: June Jones might have aggravated S.M.U. with his recent dalliance with Arizona State, and there may be an influential — and rich — booster in Maryland willing to pony up to pay for a buyout for Randy Edsall and his overpaid staff. Don’t wait on either event coming to pass. The end of firing season means it has now become Locksley award season, and it’s time to hand out the hardware. Please note that no actual hardware exists.

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    Freeze Is Determined to Make It Happen

    Hugh Freeze was determined to make it happen at Arkansas State. He was only in Jonesboro for two years, one as offensive coordinator, one as head coach, but it’s clear: Freeze made it happen. He set countless offensive records — points, yardage and the like — in 2009 as Steve Roberts’ coordinator. Freeze was named as Roberts’ successor following another 4-8 finish last fall, taking another substantial step up the coaching ladder. One year, one bowl trip and one Sun Belt title later, Freeze’s rapid climb continues to Oxford, where the Rebels, reeling from back-to-back failures, reeled in a coach who doesn’t fit the program’s recent history of coaching hires.

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      A Long “Short List” For Washington State

      Say hello to Bill Moos, pitchman. As Washington State’s one-man search committee, Moos, the school’s athletic director, spent the latter half of yesterday’s press conference announcing Paul Wulff’s dismissal outlining his plan for making the Cougars relevant. It’ll take money, said Moos, and he’s ready to cut the check. There’ll be big names bandied about, including two Moos mentioned specifically. The next coach will be walking into a great situation, both in terms of the team’s current roster and the renovation projects currently taking place surrounding the program. And there’s “a short list,” according to Moos, meaning the program may be one of the first in the F.B.S. to fill an open vacancy.

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        A 2011 Coaching Change Primer

        It’s called Black Monday for a reason, though it should be called Black Sunday and Monday and Tuesday, seeing that college football’s annual coaching shuffle doesn’t begin in earnest until two days after the end of the regular season. Seven F.B.S. head coaches have been fired since Saturday: Rob Ianello, Dennis Erickson, Ron Zook, Turner Gill, Larry Porter, Neil Callaway and Rick Neuheisel. Add this septet to the list of coaches who were either terminated earlier in the season, opted for retirement or stepped down from an interim title — such as with Luke Fickell — and the list soars to 14 names, or 11.7 percent of the 120 head coaches in college football.

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          Ten Themes for Saturday: Week 11

          Ten teams, themes, games and players to watch for Saturday. Pretty straightforward. Here we go:

          Let everyone go How many Big East teams could become bowl eligible in 2011? The conference has eight teams, and yes, all eight could get to six wins. Three are already there: Cincinnati is 7-1 and Rutgers and West Virginia are both 6-3. Louisville, 5-4, needs to beat one of Pittsburgh — a noon start this afternoon — Connecticut and South Florida, though the latter pair come on the road. Syracuse, 5-5 after last night’s loss to the Bulls, needs to beat either Cincinnati on the road or Pittsburgh at home. U.S.F., 5-4 after beating the Orange, gets Miami, Louisville and West Virginia. The Panthers and Connecticut have some work to do: both are 4-5, meaning there’s little room for error. And what would happen if all eight Big East teams were bowl eligible?

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            Three Years, Three More Games for Nutt

            It never got any higher than Nov. 28, 2008, when Ole Miss ripped through the rival Bulldogs, 45-0, to win the 103rd Egg Bowl. There was a win the week before over then-No. 18 L.S.U., a win a month later in the Cotton Bowl — not to mention another Cotton Bowl win a year later — but that Egg Bowl was it: this was the program’s high-water mark under Houston Nutt’s direction. On the back of that win, along with four others to end 2008, Ole Miss entered 2009 as a bona fide national title contender but disappointed, losing to South Carolina in September, Alabama and Auburn in October and, most notably, Mississippi State in November to finish 9-4, albeit as Cotton Bowl champs for the second straight year.

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              The 2011 Locksley: Week 10

              November isn’t just the time for teams to make their move, such as we’ll see with Alabama and L.S.U. tomorrow night. It’s also time for coaches to take themselves off the hot seat with a strong close to the season, perhaps going 4-0 or 3-1 heading into bowl play to convince the university administration that yes, one more year — if not more — would be warranted. But for some coaches, unfortunately, even a strong close to the year shouldn’t be enough: I can see at least two coaches in the F.B.S. who in no way, shape or form should be back stalking the sidelines at their current stop in 2012. Not even 4-0 or 3-1 should stop the hammer from falling on this pair. The coaching quote of the week comes from N.C. State’s Tom O’Brien, whose team dropped a 34-0 decision to Florida State last Saturday:

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                The 2011 Locksley: Week 9

                Last week’s Locksley roundup hit the presses prior to U.C.L.A.’s loss to Arizona but after U.C.L.A. athletic director Dan Guerrero termed Rick Neuheisel’s job status as “day to day,” which prevented Neuheisel from landing the sort of double-whammy that can propel a coach to the top of this list. With Guerrero’s noncommittal stance and the Arizona loss now firmly on Neuheisel’s plate, is there any way he can avoid leapfrogging Boston College’s Frank Spaziani in becoming the Locksley’s leader heading into the last Saturday of October. Each has his negatives: neither win much, both suffer ugly loss after ugly loss and both have drawn widespread calls for massive changes from their respective fan base. Each has their cons and their cons — I’m still looking for the pros. The coaching quote of the week comes from U.C.F.’s George O’Leary, who was not happy about losing to U.A.B., as one would expect:

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                  The Countdown

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