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Posts Tagged ‘James Franklin’

Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 2 (Sept. 8)

Let’s not beat around the bush: this isn’t a great week. I mean, it’s great – better than what we’re used to, better than any non-football weekend – but it’s not great, all things considered. There’s no Michigan and Alabama to end the night; there’s no prime-time game on ABC at all, in fact. Instead, we’ll close our night with Nebraska and U.C.L.A., Georgia and Missouri and, later on, Arizona and Oklahoma State. Very, very intriguing games. But with perhaps the exception of Georgia, depending on how highly you think of the Bulldogs, these games don’t carry any title implications. That doesn’t make the games any less interesting – or change the fact that every game, especially while teams find their footing, carries some level of importance. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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    No. 44: Missouri

    The lineage begins with Brad Smith, who came to Missouri from Ohio, took a redshirt in 2001 and began one of the greatest careers by a quarterback in N.C.A.A. history in 2002. It continues with Chase Daniel, who carried a clipboard in 2005 before replacing Smith a year later, eventually leaving as the most prolific passer in program history. Then comes Blaine Gabbert, who swapped a verbal commitment to Nebraska for a commitment to Missouri and left, one year too soon, as a first-round draft pick. Filling out the lineage is junior James Franklin, the next in line, and he may end up being the best of them all. There’s only one question surrounding Franklin, but it’s a big one – and one that will end up defining Missouri’s initial foray into the unfriendly SEC: How’s the shoulder?

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      No. 66: Vanderbilt

      The last time there was this much hype surrounding the Commodores it was the Roaring Twenties, and Don McGugin was closing out the back end of his illustrious three-decade turn as the winningest coach in school history. Perhaps I exaggerate — though not by much, I swear. Those ear-to-ear smiles you see are grounded in optimism, and optimism of a sort never seen in the program’s modern era; not only is Vanderbilt fresh off a bowl berth, the fifth in school history, but last year’s trip came in James Franklin’s debut season. This is optimism squared: normal, everyday optimism – albeit optimism not often seen in Nashville – doubled by the idea that Vanderbilt’s best days lie ahead. Add in what many believe to be the finest recruiting class in program history and you have what some might call SEC-level optimism, a fairly unknown sight at one of the conference’s original members.

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        A Second Visit to Penn State for O’Brien

        From Feb. 14, in a post detailing a few of the potential destinations for Danny O’Brien, the former Maryland quarterback who opted to transfer after the end of last season:

        Don’t forget about the relationship between Ralph Friedgen, who recruited O’Brien to College Park, and new Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, who worked alongside Friedgen at Georgia Tech and under him at Maryland. One thing we know about the Nittany Lions heading into the fall: Matt McGloin is a nice player, but he’s not the sort of quarterback who can lift the offense above its recent mediocrity. Bill O’Brien will get more out of Penn State’s returning quarterbacks, whether the starter is McGloin or Rob Bolden — or another quarterback, though the Nittany Lions don’t go deep at the position. It’s clear that Penn State could use a proven college starter with a basis in an N.F.L.-style offense. O’Brien, meet O’Brien.

        So where do all involved parties stand today?

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          Maryland Backs Off Initial Transfer Ruling

          In a reversal of his original decision, Randy Edsall will allow three former players, led by quarterback Danny O’Brien, to transfer to another F.B.S. program without any stipulations. According to his new ruling, O’Brien can now transfer to any A.C.C. school in addition to Vanderbilt, where he would be reunited with James Franklin, his former offensive coordinator at Maryland. The same can be said of offensive lineman Max Garcia, who had the Commodores in his final two as a high school senior before opting for the Terrapins, and linebacker Mario Rowson. The central figure in this transfer saga remains O’Brien, who was a breakout star as a redshirt freshman in 2010 before taking a back seat in Edsall’s offense over the second half of last season.

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            For O’Brien, Looking Beyond Vanderbilt

            The door is still open for Danny O’Brien to transfer to Vanderbilt, but he’ll need to jump through a few hoops to make it happen. This process would lead with O’Brien taking his case to the N.C.A.A., such as several high-profile would-be transfers have done in the past. From there, he would need to convince the N.C.A.A. that Edsall is not working in good faith — that there is no viable reason for Maryland to prevent a former player from transferring to a school that plays in another conference and has no historical or regional rivalry with the Terrapins. It shouldn’t be that hard to prove: Edsall can cite every reason he’d like, but the N.C.A.A. should eventually see that his decision to limit O’Brien’s transfer choices holds as much water as the idea that Vanderbilt is circling Maryland’s wagons.

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              Vanderbilt Makes Edsall’s No-Transfer List

              If only Danny O’Brien, the former Maryland quarterback who yesterday officially declared his intent to transfer, had called Vanderbilt his “dream” school. Had he used such a phrase, it would have left Randy Edsall in the delicate position of having his own words used against him; if you recall, Edsall called Maryland his “dream job” last winter, and called the opportunity to jilt Connecticut for College Park a “dream come true.” As it was, O’Brien used no hyperbole: he merely indicated to Edsall that Vanderbilt was his preferred destination. Vanderbilt plays in the SEC, does not often go head-to-head with Maryland for potential recruits and has played Maryland only 12 times in its history, and not since 1987.

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                Eight Under-the-Radar Coaching Jobs

                Yesterday’s post on Louisville placed an emphasis on the coaching job Charlie Strong did last fall, if not over his first two seasons with the program altogether. Sometimes, as I noted, seven wins means more than just seven wins: Louisville matched its 2010 mark for victories, but doing so when given the team’s sour start and overwhelming youth makes another bowl trip quite the impressive feat for Strong and his staff. Praising Strong’s work in 2011 underscores the idea that the best coaching job in the country is often not done by the coach who wins a national title, or the coach who wins the SEC; often enough, the best coaching job is done by one who takes the youngest team in the country, one that started 2-4, and wins seven games.

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                  The Countdown

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