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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Stoops’

No. 9: Oklahoma

Before Ryan Broyles was lost for the season, the Sooners’ lone loss came as a result of the worst 30 minutes Oklahoma had played since John Blake. After Broyles tore up his knee in the second half against Texas A&M, the Sooners lost to Baylor for the first time in program history and to Oklahoma State for the first time since 2002. Through nine games, Oklahoma was averaging 8.3 yards per pass attempt; extrapolated over the entire season, that total would have tied O.U. with five other teams for 13th-best in the country. Over their last four games, the Sooners averaged 6.6 yards per attempt; extrapolated over the entire season, that total would have tied O.U. with seven other teams — including Duke and Minnesota — for 85th in the country. The final month defined Oklahoma’s season; in a nutshell, the Sooners could only weather so many storms before the offense fell apart. As the offense went, so went Oklahoma. At least O.U. won’t have to worry about losing Broyles in 2012; he’s now healthy, making plays for the Detroit Lions.

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    230 Things to Occupy 230 Long Days

    There are 230 days until Aug. 30, when a few lucky teams jump ahead of the curve and start the 2012 season on a Thursday, not a Saturday. And for that, the teams in question — I know Utah is one — earn our love and affection. But that lies way, way in the future, and the question now becomes how we fill our college football-free days. For 230 days, here are 230 ideas. Not all are possible; some of us are pretty busy, and the next time I do 230 things over 230 days will be the first time, I must admit. But nonetheless, the list:

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      The Stoops Brothers Are Wanted Men

      Mike Stoops will land on his feet. Two months after being jettisoned by Arizona amid a 1-5 start, Stoops has his pick of potential suitors: Iowa’s going to come calling, and Ohio State and Nebraska have already expressed interest. But there’s a catch for Stoops, who worked hard to land the job at Arizona and, it should be said, worked tremendously hard to lead the Wildcats into Pac-12 contention, disappointing 2011 season or no. Stoops is a wanted man, albeit as a defensive coordinator, not as a head coach.

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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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          Thinking About Who’s Next at Arizona

          Where does Arizona go next? Defensive coordinator Tim Kish will run the show for the rest of 2011, but we know the track record of interim coaches becoming the permanent replacement at the end of their partial-season audition: there have been coaches who parlayed a short stint into the full-time position, but it’s a short list. Barring the near-impossible, the overwhelming odds point towards athletic director Greg Byrne and Arizona opening up the job formerly held by Mike Stoops to a nationwide search. Does the university want someone with prior head coach experience? An offensive-minded coach, a defense-first coach? Perhaps the only certainty is that Arizona wants a coach with a more stoic, less demonstrative manner – the anti-Stoops, in short. Let’s look at a few names the Wildcats may consider:

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            Arizona Makes a “Difficult Decision”

            Mike Stoops was one of those guys on a perpetually hot seat. It was one that cooled for periods of time – like for more than a year, give or take – only to return to its prior temperature after Arizona lost to the Sun Devils, or faltered down the stretch during Pac-12 play, or suffered a lopsided bowl loss. And as in the past, there was no doubting the fact that Stoops, once this season ended, was going to face a tremendous amount of criticism from the local media, Arizona’s alumni base and even his own employers – this is based off the logic that the Wildcats, 1-5 after losing to previously winless Oregon State, wouldn’t turn things around over the second half of the year.

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              No. 60: Arizona

              Arizona has September and October figured out. The Wildcats are 17-6 over the season’s first two months over the last three years, rising as high as 15th nationally during last year’s 7-1 start. It’s the last month-plus of the year that has given Mike Stoops and Arizona trouble since he first rejuvenated this program three seasons ago, particularly last fall: the Wildcats dropped five straight to end the year, coloring what was due to be a banner season into one defined by late-season failures. What happens to Arizona down the stretch? Answer that question – and believe me, Stoops is investigating – and you might solve the ailment that has prevented this program from joining the premier slice of the Pac-12.

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                The Big Saturday Winner: Arizona

                The Wildcats scored early, taking an early 14-0 lead, and again late to break a 27-27 tie.

                In a weekend lacking star power, Arizona made the most of its opportunity. So the game started late for us on the East Coast — no matter. The final score says it all, even if the Wildcats had to withstand a furious second half rally to come out on top: Arizona 34, Iowa 27. So the heat did play a role; so did Arizona’s first half dominance in all three facets of the game: offense, defense and special teams. Especially the latter: from blocked punts to kickoff returns to field goals, Arizona proved that when two relatively evenly-matched teams take the field, the third dimension of play — the one most commonly overlooked — can play the difference between a seven-point win and a disheartening loss.

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                  The Countdown

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