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Posts Tagged ‘Tommy Tuberville’

The 2012 Locksley: Week 3

Blind squirrels are known to stumble upon a nut every now and again, especially if that nut is, say, Maine’s football team. Or if the blind squirrel is Middle Tennessee State and the nut is Florida Atlantic, which houses the only Sun Belt team more impotent than Rick Stockstill’s Blue Raiders. So what to make of these wins? At face value, dates with Maine and the Owls pushed Boston College and Middle Tennessee State into the win column – that’s the biggest takeaway for both the Eagles and Blue Raiders. But beyond that point, what did these wins prove? That B.C. is not good enough to run with Miami (Fla.) but good enough to beat an F.C.S. opponent? That Stockstill’s gang can beat F.A.U. but not McNeese State? The wins prove nothing, in short, because for teams of this quality – or lack thereof – true colors won’t shine until the calendar turns to conference play, and for both B.C. and M.T.S.U., the season looks bleak indeed despite a bump up to .500. The coaching quote of the week come from U.N.L.V.’s Bobby Hauck:

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    The 2012 Locksley: Week 2

    It’s going to be hard to fill a list without names like Callaway, Neuheisel, Nutt – last year’s Locksley winner – Porter, Ianello, Fairchild and Wulff. Hard, but not impossible – not even close to impossible. For every year, like clockwork, an already maligned head coach rolls out of bed, walks into his home stadium and loses to a team like McNeese State, as did Rick Stockstill last Saturday. Stockstill is one of only three head coaches from the final regular season list for last year’s Locksley still standing, joining Boston College’s Frank Spaziani and Central Michigan’s Dan Enos. Rest assured, all three names will feature prominently in the quest for the winner of the 2012 Locksley. The coaching quote of the week comes from Spaziani, whose team dropped a 41-32 decision to Miami (Fla.) in its season opener:

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      No. 61: Texas Tech

      Oh, irony. When Texas Tech replaced Mike Leach with Tommy Tuberville, it did so under the presumption that Tuberville’s defensive credentials would lend greater balance to program defined primarily by its pitch-and-catch offensive system – even if the Red Raiders had played surprisingly stout defense over periods of Leach’s decade-long tenure. Instead, Tech has remained strong offensively, averaging at least 33.1 points per game in each of the last two years, while undergoing a meteoric nosedive on defense. In 2010, the Red Raiders allowed 9.5 more points per game than in Leach’s final season; last fall, the Raiders gave up a program-record 39.3 points per game, including 66 points to both Oklahoma State and Baylor. It’s safe to say that things haven’t gone as planned. Perhaps you’re not surprised to hear that Tuberville is on his third defensive coordinator in three years.

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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 2012 Locksley: Winter Watch List

          They’re the survivors. Purdue’s Danny Hope barely nudged into bowl play, removing himself from the hot seat in the process — and landing a contract extension, in fact. George O’Leary’s common flirtations with mediocrity has led him to alter the makeup of his coaching staff, though he remains entrenched at U.C.F. as the program begins its move to the Big East. Another Conference USA head coache, Rice’s David Bailiff, putters along the road to mediocrity yet seems to experience minimal challenges to his job security. Middle Tennessee State’s Rick Stockstill is made of Teflon, if not some similarly strong fluorocarbon solid, as is UTEP’s Mike Price.

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            Freeze Is Determined to Make It Happen

            Hugh Freeze was determined to make it happen at Arkansas State. He was only in Jonesboro for two years, one as offensive coordinator, one as head coach, but it’s clear: Freeze made it happen. He set countless offensive records — points, yardage and the like — in 2009 as Steve Roberts’ coordinator. Freeze was named as Roberts’ successor following another 4-8 finish last fall, taking another substantial step up the coaching ladder. One year, one bowl trip and one Sun Belt title later, Freeze’s rapid climb continues to Oxford, where the Rebels, reeling from back-to-back failures, reeled in a coach who doesn’t fit the program’s recent history of coaching hires.

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              No. 45: Texas Tech

              New coach, same strengths. Texas Tech scored at least 400 points for the 10th consecutive season, scoring a tad less than in 2009 – scoring 33.1 points per game against 37.0 the year before – under Tommy Tuberville but remaining one of the best offensive teams in the Big 12. It was somewhat surprising, given Tuberville’s defensive background, to see the Red Raiders take such a significant slide back defensively: Tech allowed 402 points, a program-high since 2003 and the third-worst output in program history. As with Mike Leach before him, Tuberville has work cut out for him before he can lead Texas Tech into the Big 12 title mix; unlike Leach, however, Tuberville’s work must be done on the defensive side of the ball.

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                Tuberville Makes a Political Error

                As you may have heard, there’s been a bit of a political brouhaha over President Obama’s purported birth certificate; one side attests Obama was not born in America, which if true would invalidate his presidential eligibility. Without straying too far outside my comfort zone, I can say that similarly outlandish claims are the hallmark of political football, from Obama to the more recent President Bush, to Clinton, Reagan, Carter and so on. We’re used to hearing vitriol from both sides, but typically from the type of “carnival barkers” the President referenced yesterday afternoon — politicians hoping to make a mountain out of a molehill.

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                  The Countdown

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