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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Rhoads’

No. 81: Iowa State

How does Iowa State win games? As a whole, the program has brought in only 10 four-star recruits since the 2003 recruiting cycle, according to Rivals.com. In comparison, Texas, a team Iowa State beat on the road in 2010, signed 15 four-star recruits on this winter’s national signing day alone. The program has not finished better than second-to-last in the Big 12 team recruiting rankings since 2004. There’s little that would lead one to believe that Iowa State, with little in its corner, could hang with the programs to which life comes easy. But there’s coaching. Grit, perhaps? An underdog mentality tinged with a devil-may-care attitude, one that leads I.S.U. to engage its heavily-favored conference foes with guerrilla warfare, sneaking through the back door to win five, six, seven games. When the dust clears, the rest of the Big 12 asks the following question: How did Iowa State win six games? Sometimes, a team will ask: How did Iowa State beat us? If there was a way to bottle moxie, you’d see a picture of Paul Rhoads and the Cyclones on the label.

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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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      Starting With McGee, Branching Out

      If Jeff Long was serious about starting Arkansas’ coaching search immediately after last night’s press conference, it stands to reason that the Razorbacks are in the market for a new head coach in time for this coming season. It’s not too late in the game for this to be a possibility, even if a new arrival wouldn’t step on campus until the summer, well after the team has concluded spring drills. On one side, such a rapid learning curve — for coach and team alike — might lead candidates who would otherwise be interested in the opportunity to think twice. However, it’s only so often that a head coach can inherit a team quite as talented as these Razorbacks.

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        The Year in Review: Iowa State (6-7, 3-6)

        How does Iowa State win games? As a whole, the program has brought in only 10 four-star recruits since the 2003 recruiting cycle, according to Rivals.com. In comparison, Texas, a team Iowa State beat on the road in 2010, brought in 15 four-star recruits on last Wednesday’s national signing day alone. The program has not finished better than second-to-last in the Big 12 team recruiting rankings since 2004. Its two primary quarterbacks, Steele Jantz and Jared Barnett, combined for four scholarship offers when each entered the recruiting pool; half came from Iowa State, and for Jantz, it was the Cyclones or no one. Little talent, little production, little that would lead one to believe that Iowa State, with little in its corner, could hang with the programs to which life comes easy.

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          Pittsburgh’s Four-Point Plan for the Future

          Pittsburgh’s four-part plan for solidifying the future of its football program begins with the most painful step, but I suggest that the Panthers adhere to the old adage and tackle the endeavor like a Band-Aid – you know, just rip it right off.

          1. Hire a new athletic director. Or, if your glass is half-empty, fire Steve Pederson. A quick rundown of the last 21 months of Pederson’s tenure reveals a baffling array of personnel moves, beginning with the contract extension he handed out to Dave Wannstedt last March. If anyone in Pittsburgh’s recent history rivals Pederson for pure inconsistency – overachieving at times, underachieving at others, rarely in between – it’s likely Wannstedt, though he looks just like the steady hand the program could use at this critical time.

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            Ten Themes for Saturday: Week 9

            Ten teams, themes, players and games to watch on Saturday. Pretty straightforward. Here we go:

            Par for the course This is pretty typical for the Pac-12 in 2011: all 12 teams are in action, but only one game, Stanford at U.S.C., pits two teams with a winning record. The rest is a minefield of potentially unwatchable football. Washington State, 3-4, heads to Oregon, 6-1, and the results will be ugly — nice for Oregon, disastrous for the Cougars. Colorado, 1-7, heads to Arizona State, 5-2, and the same said of Washington State can be said of the Buffaloes. Then there’s 4-3 California at 3-4 U.C.L.A.; the latter is a train wreck. Oregon State’s playing better football, but at 2-5, the Beavers — who visit 3-4 Utah — are facing an uphill climb to bowl eligibility. This is just another weekend in the Pac-12, where the great teams are really great but the bad teams… well, they’re pretty bad.

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              Good, Bad, Otherwise: You’re Fired

              Lane Kiffin has one. Of course. So does Dabo Swinney. And Paul Rhoads, strangely enough. Mike Riley has one! And you know Ron Zook is represented. Kirk Ferentz might have one, had Iowa not jumped in ahead of the curve. I’m talking about www.fire_____.com, the ubiquitous coach-unfriendly Web site typically purchased by an intrepid, capitalistic fan in the days following a coach’s hiring and either maintained or left to languish depending on the ensuing results. Careful research — spanning several minutes surfing the Internet — has yielded the following conclusion: bad coaches get them, good coaches get them, nice coaches get them and mean coaches get them. So there’s little rhyme or reason to the whole thing.

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                No. 88: Iowa State

                The stars aligned in 2009 but faded in 2010, and the magic seemed to leave the building down the stretch. It won’t work every season, but one thing is clear: Paul Rhoads will have Iowa State playing Dan McCarney-style football on a yearly basis, by which I mean his Cyclones will not quit, will not be intimidated and will not lose games on paper despite the lopsided odds placed against them. Rhoads is that kind of coach, a 180-degree emotional turn from his predecessor, he-who-shall-not-be-named, and he makes Iowa State fun, likeable and easy to root for. One only hopes that the McCarney similarities remain on the field — if Iowa State mistakes successive losing seasons as a sign Rhoads can’t get it done, I fully expect the fan base to rise up in full-throated protest.

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                  The Countdown

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