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Posts Tagged ‘Neil Callaway’

No. 117: U.A.B.

Even if all had gone according to plan, Jimbo Fisher still wouldn’t be the head coach at U.A.B. in 2012. Either Fisher would have flamed out, failing to lead the Blazers to respectability, or he would have won enough games in Birmingham to land the top job at, say, Arkansas. Or Florida State, even. His eventual landing spot doesn’t matter. What does matter is how the University of Alabama Board of Trustees set U.A.B. football back at least a half-decade, if not more, by nixing the university’s contract agreement with Fisher late in 2006, when he was Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator at L.S.U. Take Neil Callaway instead, suggested the trustees. In comes Callaway; five years later, Callaway and his 18 wins were sent packing. Where is U.A.B. today if Fisher is hired instead? Are the Blazers on the upswing, like Houston or Southern Mississippi, or are the built-in hurdles too much for any coach to overcome?

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    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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      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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        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 2011 Locksley: Week 8

            Queue up a sad dirge for Bob Toledo, who resigned — yeah, that sounds right — from his position at Tulane with a career mark of 15-40. What was the straw that broke the camel’s back? Well, a 44-7 home loss to UTEP on Saturday was the specific loss that led Tulane to make a coaching move. But the university’s decision was years in the making, and blaming one loss for Toledo’s dismissal ignores the years and years of terrible football the Green Wave played under his watch. Tulane never won more than four games in any single season, bottomed out at 2-10 in 2008, and despite starting 2-2 in three of the last four years was unable to make any move whatsoever in Conference USA. So it was a long, long time coming. Up next? The Green Wave need to attempt to right a past mistake by offering Rich Rodriguez all it has in the bank. This week’s coaching quote of the week comes from Indiana’s Kevin Wilson, who had some nice things to say about Wisconsin’s running game:

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              The 2011 Locksley: Week 7

              That Mike Stoops, recently dismissed at Arizona, was not even considered a favorite for the Locksley in each of its first two installments reflects poorly on this list. Hindsight is wonderful: in hindsight, based on how Arizona had lost nine straight games against F.B.S. competition, it would have been wise to at least place Stoops along the back end of the list, alongside fellow B.C.S. conference head coaches like Mike Sherman and Tom O’Brien. Sadly, Stoops was giving his walking papers — they were wrapped around a check for $1.4 million — without even being a factor for the Locksley. A very disappointing development for Stoops and this prestigious weekly ranking. Onwards and upwards, beginning with this week’s coaching quote of the week. It’s from Washington State’s Paul Wulff, a former Locksley favorite who has removed himself from the hot seat with his team’s 3-2 start — but Saturday’s loss to U.C.L.A. won’t soon be forgotten:

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                The 2011 Locksley: Week 6

                Just because the weather’s turning a big nippier doesn’t mean the seats are following suit. The seats are remaining hot, hot, hot — and in some cases, the mercury’s bubbling. How hot is Rick Neuheisel’s seat? It’s awful hot, like center-of-Kilauea-hot, and I implore you: use gloves, and handle with care. And Larry Porter, who has run an already-weak Memphis program nearly six feet under? You might not be paying attention, but Porter won’t last long if Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson is shown the door in the near future, as some have suggested. How do you cool a hot seat, you might ask? Water doesn’t help. A fire extinguisher is useless, though they’re good fun in empty hotel hallways. You need to win, obviously — and these 10 coaches don’t do that, or don’t that nearly enough, to cool down their hot seats. Your coaching quote of the week comes from Baylor’s Art Briles, who wants his team to look ahead to Iowa State, not back to a tough loss to Kansas State:

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                  The Countdown

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