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Posts Tagged ‘Justin Fuente’

Fuente Takes a Page From Edsall’s Book

While an announcement has yet to be made, it’s been a foregone conclusion since midway through spring ball that Memphis was going to hand its starting quarterback job over to former Texas Tech transfer Jacob Karam.

The Tigers returned an incumbent starter in sophomore Taylor Reed, who stood as one shining light of positivity during an otherwise dismal conclusion to Larry Porter’s disastrous two-year turn as Memphis’ head coach, but Porter’s replacement, former T.C.U. co-offensive coordinator Justin Fuente, clearly brought in Karam — who was immediately eligible to suit up for the Tigers — to not merely compete for the starting job but to take it away from Reed outright.

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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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      No. 119: Memphis

      Here’s an interesting scenario: If Tom Bowen had been named R.C. Johnson’s successor in December, when Memphis was conducting a national coaching search, would he have hired former T.C.U. co-offensive coordinator Justin Fuente? Bowen, formerly of San Jose State, was named Memphis’ athletic director on Monday; while the task of finding Larry Porter’s successor has been taken out of his hands, Bowen will continue to closely monitor the football program as it looks to rebuild in advance of next year’s move to the Big East. Bowen has been here before, back in 2005 while at San Jose State. The Spartans, rolling along at a level two steps below mediocrity, needed to find a solution for its football woes. Bowen’s solution? Dick Tomey — the anti-Justin Fuente, the anti-Larry Porter. History says that Bowen, if given the chance, would have hired a veteran, experienced and accomplished college head coach. Not a Fuente. What’s done is done: moving on.

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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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          Trending Young, But Old Guard Still Reigns

          What does a football coach have in common with fine wine, real estate holdings, antiques and scotch? Like that quartet — but not necessarily always, as a disclaimer — a coach gets better with age. As our first piece of evidence, check out how Tom Coughlin, 65, led the Giants to a second Super Bowl win in five years over the Patriots, who were in turn led by Bill Belichick, 59. Bruce Feldman did the calculations shortly after the Giants’ win was in the books: the average age of the head coach or manager of the last five major North American sports champions is… 62. It’s in that 62nd year that an American is first eligible for Social Security retirement benefits, albeit at a slightly reduced rate than one would receive had he or she waited until 66 or 67, depending on your year and date of birth. Let’s get back on track.

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            T.C.U. Goes From B.C.S. to Poinsettia

            Barely miss out on a B.C.S. bowl? If you’re from a B.C.S. conference, your parachute drops you nicely in, say, the Cotton Bowl: disappointing, but there are worse places to be. Now, if you’re from a non-B.C.S. conference, the drop is significantly more precipitous. Take T.C.U., which finished two B.C.S. spots shy of an automatic B.C.S. bowl; 18th in the final standings, the Horned Frogs needed to finish at least 16th to reach a third straight B.C.S. bowl. But the slide from near-B.C.S. heights is steep if you’re in the Mountain West, for example, where T.C.U. recently closed its final non-B.C.S. regular season in style.

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              Slight Progress for F.B.S. Coaches of Color

              In a sense, we’re still treading water. There were 19 head coaches of color in the F.B.S. heading into this season; four have since been relieved of their duties. The first to walk the firing line was Mike Locksley, who was dismissed at New Mexico before the calendar turned to October. Surprisingly, Kansas fired Turner Gill after two seasons, though Gill has since landed on his feet at Liberty University – a perfect pairing of coach and university, it should be said. Gill, unlike Locksley, was dismissed for a simple reason: he lost too many games. From Sunday to Friday, Gill might have been the best coach in the country. Locksley failed on the field and off, making New Mexico’s decision an easy one.

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                Fuente to Memphis; Good Luck to Fuente

                Hello, Justin Fuente. And good luck. Fuente is going from the penthouse to the outhouse — from perhaps the nation’s best non-B.C.S. conference program to perhaps the nation’s worst. After five seasons under Gary Patterson at T.C.U., the last three as the Horned Frogs’ co-offensive coordinator, Fuente agreed to terms with Memphis to become that woebegone program’s third head coach since 2009. In doing so, Fuente replaces Larry Porter, the former L.S.U. running backs coach and recruiting wunderkind who won three games over his two seasons with the Tigers.

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                  The Countdown

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