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Posts Tagged ‘Ron English’

Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 3 (Sept. 15)

Do you remember the last time Notre Dame took a trip to East Lansing? You might not remember the game’s first 60 minutes and change, but that’s fine: things didn’t get wild until overtime, when Michigan State answered a Notre Dame field goal with the most audacious coaching decision of the 2010 season. Now you remember, right? Dan Conroy is lined up for the potentially game-tying 46-yard field goal; Aaron Bates, the punter and team captain, was the holder; tight end Charlie Gantt was lined up one spot inside from the edge to Conroy’s right. The call: “Little Giants.” The snap went to Bates, as expected – and then came the unexpected. You’ll see the rest of the play later tonight, when the Irish and Spartans meet in one of the day’s marquee games. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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    No. 92: Eastern Michigan

    Just think of all the great lines that are no longer valid in everyday conversation – if you’re talking about Eastern Michigan in everyday conversation, that is, and if you are, let’s talk daily. No longer can you use this gem: Eastern Michigan can win 10 games, but only if you give the Eagles five years. No longer usable. Or this: Eastern Michigan hasn’t finished above .500 in MAC play since two years before the league added Northern Illinois. Or even this one: The last time E.M.U. won six games, all the way back in 1995, George W. Bush was in his first term as the Governor of Texas. I guess I’ll just throw these on the trash heap. Forget conference expansion, Florida State to the Big 12, New Mexico State to the F.C.S., Nebraska to the Big Ten and so on; the most amazing thing to happen in college football over the last 12 months was Eastern Michigan winning six games. And this fact won’t stop being amazing until Ron English and E.M.U. do it again.

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      Eight Under-the-Radar Coaching Jobs

      Yesterday’s post on Louisville placed an emphasis on the coaching job Charlie Strong did last fall, if not over his first two seasons with the program altogether. Sometimes, as I noted, seven wins means more than just seven wins: Louisville matched its 2010 mark for victories, but doing so when given the team’s sour start and overwhelming youth makes another bowl trip quite the impressive feat for Strong and his staff. Praising Strong’s work in 2011 underscores the idea that the best coaching job in the country is often not done by the coach who wins a national title, or the coach who wins the SEC; often enough, the best coaching job is done by one who takes the youngest team in the country, one that started 2-4, and wins seven games.

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        Ten Themes for Saturday: Week 10

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

        Fickell makes his case He inherited an unenviable situation, in a way. Yes, Luke Fickell did get one year to run his dream program, Ohio State, and even if the Buckeyes suffered through a rebuilding year he could always tout his sole season running the show when interviewing for a future head coach position — say, one at Akron, which may soon become available. And through September, it seemed as if Fickell was in over his head. With the move to October came a change in fortune for Fickell and the Buckeyes, even if the record doesn’t necessarily reflect that fact.

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          No. 108: Eastern Michigan

          The losses continued to mount: 10 of them. And the losses were again routinely ugly: most by significant margins, including some so large they force you to double-check with another source to test their veracity. And the defense was even worse than it was a year ago: 527 points allowed, the second-highest total in school history. And the offense remained in neutral: 228 points scored, a touch more than in 2009 but still a total ranked among the bottom 13 teams in the country. And the program is still mired in less than neutral, though not quite reverse: E.M.U. can only go forward, making it hard to go in reverse. But who cares? Two wins! Strike up the band!

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            For E.M.U., Happiness Is a First Win

            It’s been quite some time for Eastern Michigan: the program’s last win came on Nov. 28, 2008, when the Eagles upset Central Michigan in Ypsilanti. That victory, the last of the Jeff Genyk era, had been followed by 18 consecutive defeats — the program’s first 18 games under former Michigan assistant Ron English. It seemed, at least through the first half, that Saturday’s game against Ball State would go the same way.

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              Fire My Coach, Please: Week 7

              Ron English's first two years in Michigan makes Rich Rodriguez's debut look pleasant.

              Mike Locksley is running away with this competition, which is unfortunate. There are several other candidates putting together equally unimpressive campaigns — yet none that can touch Locksley’s disastrous start to 2010. The latest nail in the coffin? A two-point loss to in-state rival New Mexico State, which has severe issues of its own. However, it’s not Locksley with our coaching quote of the week — it’s Minnesota’s Tim Brewster, whose Golden Gophers moved to 1-5 after a loss to Wisconsin. It wasn’t just the loss that had Brewster upset, but a late two-point conversion called by Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema. Here’s what Brewster had to say:

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                No. 119: Eastern Michigan

                This was awkward. So was Eastern Michigan's 0-12 finish in Ron English's first season.

                Imagine being Ron English. You’ve worked hard all of your adult life to reach this moment: your first head coach position on the highest level of college football. You’ve practiced that first locker room speech — the pep talk right before the season opener — countless times, you’ve preached to your team the importance of responsibility, fortitude, confidence. So you lose the season opener. No one expected Eastern Michigan to play for the national title, after all, and there are 11 games to go. Then you lose again. And again. And again. And before you know it, you’re 0-12, winless, skunked, shutout, and facing the specter of the worst start for a head coach in F.B.S. history. Now you’re the one needing that pep talk. What a difference a year makes.

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                  The Countdown

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