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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Leach’

No. 68: Washington State

Pullman’s not Los Angeles. But you knew that. Pullman isn’t Seattle, which you also knew. Pullman is different: it’s more accepting of, let’s say, quirky personalities. Not crazy, mind you; when it comes to crazy, Pullman is as unforgiving as any place in America. But Pullman is a place where a coach can let his hair down, such as Mike Price did for a generation. It’s quirk-friendly, in short. When coaching the Cougars, you can be yourself. You can be wacky. You can call out your players’ girlfriends, co-host the evening news, make jokes and crack wise — it’s cool. It’s Pullman. You can be yourself. Also: you can win.

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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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      Can Anyone Knock Oregon Off Its Perch?

      Oregon knew – or had a very strong suspicion – that LaMichael James was going to forego his final season of eligibility; Darron Thomas’ decision to follow James out the door came as a bit of a surprise. It was certainly surprising on a national level, as Thomas, while certainly one of the top quarterbacks in the Pac-12, could probably have used another season of college seasoning before taking his game onto the next level. Oregon’s offense shouldn’t have much trouble replacing James, as strange as that might sound, since the Ducks can turn to the three-headed monster of Kenjon Barner, De’Anthony Thomas and Tra Carson to help pick up the slack.

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        Oregon-U.S.C. at the Coliseum and More

        It’s completely apropos of the Pac-12 to lead its release of the 2012 conference schedule with a picture of fireworks exploding high above Autzen Stadium: Oregon is explosive, for starters, but the Ducks also factor into next season’s most highly-anticipated regular season game west of the SEC. In other words, get your popcorn — and blasting caps — ready. It’ll be Ducks and Trojans at the Coliseum on Nov. 3, the same day as Alabama’s trip to L.S.U., which makes for an interesting Saturday. And it’s only 303 days away!

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          All These Coaches Want For Christmas Is…

          What I’m expecting for Christmas: socks, books, a sweater and an assortment of home goods. What I want for Christmas: toys — I think I still want toys for Christmas. What I’ll get for Christmas: socks, books, a sweater and an assortment of home goods. I still remember when I got laser tag as a kid; that was special. Now? It’s still special, but more so for the family time than the presents. So I’ve grown up — or grown old, or some combination of the two. And you can’t always get what you want: just ask some of college football’s best coaches, who asked for something they really want and need for Christmas but will likely end up with socks, books — maybe not books, actually — a sweater and an assortment of home goods.

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            Farewell, With a Loss and a Quote

            Leave it Dennis Erickson, right before closing the door on his coaching career, to put everything in perspective. It wasn’t tears and fond farewells on Thursday night, when Erickson held his final press conference, but rather the same old curmudgeon we’ve grown to know and, well, like a bit. Love? Not exactly. Erickson did leave Miami in quite a lurch, if you recall, when he split town following the 1994 season to join the Seattle Seahawks; shortly after his departure, the Hurricanes were placed on three years of probation. The program wouldn’t recover until its final days under Butch Davis.

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              Guerrero-Led U.C.L.A. Is Taking on Water

              It’s been 12 days since the news first broke, a week since it was official, and U.C.L.A. is still lost at sea. While the rest of the Pac-12 — outside of Arizona State — is moving and shaking, the Bruins are treading water. Of course, anyone familiar with athletic director Dan Guerrero should have expected nothing else: Guerrero, since arriving in 2002, has been responsible for firing Bob Toledo, hiring Karl Dorrell, firing Dorrell, hiring Rick Neuheisel and then, a week ago, firing Neuheisel. This is par for the course. As is the parade of names, some noteworthy for good reasons, most noteworthy for not, and U.C.L.A. is getting nervous. The fan base is running out of fingernails.

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                Heaps’ Transfer Might Lead to Leach

                On paper, Washington State should be Jake Heaps’ preferred landing spot. The former starter at B.Y.U., Heaps declared his intention to transfer earlier this week, making official what most believed would come to pass over most of the second half of the regular season. Heaps, who started most of his true freshman season and the first five games of 2011, lost control of his starting job in the second half against Utah State, a game the Cougars would come back and win late under Riley Nelson. Even after playing reasonably well in Nelson’s stead as an injury replacement in November, the writing was on the wall: Heaps, if he wants to start, needed to play elsewhere.

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                  The Countdown

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