Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Scoring the Impact of Young's Test

The controversy over Vince Young's Wonderlic score at the NFL combine won't go away. The Austin American-Statesman asked Gil Brandt, who used to work for the Dallas Cowboys and is now helping to run the combine in Indianapolis, if the test will have any impact on Young's status in the draft. "This is much ado about very little," Brandt said. Stewart Mandel of CNNSI has a terrific piece and while noting that Young is an incredible talent, he sums up the situation to this point: "There are only about 8 billion conflicting reports out there right now as to what exactly took place in Indianapolis this weekend — that Young scored a disastrous 6 out of 50, re-took it and got a 16, that the first test wasn't graded properly, that his agent inexplicably failed to tell him about this part of the combine, that the first score was legit and the re-take was part of an NFL cover-up over its embarrassment at letting the score leak in the first place. Either way, 6 or 16, Young bombed. There's no sugar-coating that." (some registration).

Reporters' Notebooks

Bill Buchalter, Orlando Sentinel: Now that the hype surrounding the 2006 recruiting season has died down, let's assess the signings position by position.

Andy Staples, Tampa Tribune: Florida and Miami will resume their rivalry with games in 2008 and 2013.

Sarah Rothschild, Miami Herald: New Miami offensive coordinator Rich Olson has some ideas on how to jumpstart the offense (registration).

Paul Finebaum, Mobile Register: Patience paid off for Alabama and Mike Shula, who was given the time to rebuild the team.

B.G. Brooks, Rocky Mountain News: Although the teams do not have a signed contract, the Colorado-Colorado State series will continue.

Natalie Meisler, Denver Post: Marc Lubick, Colorado State's receivers coach and the son of coach Sonny Lubick, is battling cancer.

Bryan Strickland, Durham Herald-Sun: Ben Patrick, a tight end and team captain who led Duke in receptions last season, will transfer to Delaware for his final season.

Ron Higgins, Commercial Appeal: A team-by-team breakdown of spring football in the Southeastern Conference (registration).

Evan Woodbery, Mobile Register: Auburn begins spring practice, and new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has work to do.

Josh Nelson, Ames Tribune: Former Iowa State defensive end Jason Berryman's freedom is now in the hands of the court.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Young and the Restless

Was Vince Young given a second Wonderlic test on Sunday? According to the Houston Chronicle, the answer is yes. The paper's source for the story is Young's agent, Major Adams, who said his client racked up a 16 on the second try. Jeff Foster, executive director of the National Scouting Combine, administered Young's second test. Pro Football Talk, the site that reported Young scored a 6 on his first test, has links to several stories either disputing or validating Young's alleged score of 6. And the site speculates that the NFL may have given other big-name players who scored poorly "do-over" in the past.

Reporters' Notebooks

Phil Kornblut, Columbia State: Thought recruiting season was over? Think again. Clemson is among several teams in the mix for offensive lineman Clifton Geathers.

Bob Wieneke, South Bend Tribune: Crewcut Charlie Weis has landed his first player for Notre Dame's recruiting class of 2007.

Kevin Gorman, Tribune-Review: Pittsburgh's junior day was a hugh success, as 80 prospects came to campus.

Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman: Boise State assistant Jeff Choate took a gamble to advance his coaching career and it paid off.

Paul Finebaum, Mobile Register: Former Alabama quarterback Freddie Kitchens is moving up quickly through the coaching ranks.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Did Vince Young Fail the Wonderlic Test?

Things do not appear to be going well at the NFL combine for former Texas quarterback Vince Young, pictured with a young fan during a recent visit to a school. Young, once thought to be the top pick of the draft, has seen his stock tumble to where one scouting service ranks him as no better than the sixth-best quarterback in the draft. Now comes a report that Young scored 6 on the Wonderlic personnel test, which is given to all prospects at the combine. To put this in perspective, only one person in 100,000 scores a perfect 50. Harvard's Pat McInally (1975) is the only prospect to ace the test at the combine. The average score for a player at the combine is 19. The average score overall — hundreds of corporations use the Wonderlic — is 21. But a score under 10 is an indication of literacy problems. Former Iowa State running back Darren Davis reportedly has the record for lowest score, a 4. Former Florida State kicker Sebastian Janikowski reportedly got a 9. If Young did do this poorly, it will be another knock on him. Coaches are already grumbling about his slingshot delivery and will want to work on his mechanics. Plus he will have to adjust to running the offense from under center instead of from the shotgun formation, which Texas used to showcase Young's unique set of skills.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

This Billboard Is Off the Charts

Mission Accomplished. Where have we heard that before? But in this case, it's true. One Peat's billboard is up and the location could not be better. It's across the street from the peristyle end of the L.A. Coliseum. Needless to say, the people responsible for this have hit the jackpot. If you haven't been following this soap opera, here is a primer. In 2003, Louisiana State and USC split the national championship. The Tigers were named the bowl championship series titlist, and the Trojans were voted No. 1 in the final Associated Press poll. But the BCS winner is regarded as the actual champion these days, at least according to LSU fans. As the hype over USC's appearance in the Rose Bowl this past season reached a crescendo, Tiger fans felt slighted. Their championship was being trampled on. So a movement started to clarify matters, and the results are now visible. Thanks to College Football Blog for the photos and video, which you can view by clicking here.

Meet the New and Improved Marcus Vick

Marcus Vick earned the tag of college football's bad boy in 2005 and likely cost himself millions of NFL dollars. Now the former Virginia Tech quarterback, booted from the team in January, is at the NFL combine and working to rehabilitate his image. He apologized for stomping on the leg of Louisville defensive end Elvis Dumervil in the Gator Bowl and said a confrontation at a McDonald's parking lot with three teenagers "got blown way out of proportion." One thing is clear. NFL teams are intrigued with Vick's athleticism and he will get an opportunity to be like Mike, his brother who quarterbacks the Atlanta Falcons.

Reporters' Notebooks

Joe Person, Columbia State: Steve Spurrier says South Carolina needs new athletic facilities if it wants to become a big-time player. And Gamecock fans likely will pay more to see the team play.

Bradley Olson and Josh Mitchell, Baltimore Sun: Another Navy player has been accused of sexually assaulting a classmate (registration).

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia has acknowledged a violation of NCAA rules in the recruitment of David Ausberry, who ended up signing with USC (registration).

Tom Mulhern, Wisconsin State Journal: The son of former Wisconsin standout Al Toon has become the first member of the Badger recruiting class of 2007.

Brian Dohn, L.A. Daily News: UCLA defensive players are quickly learning what life will be like under new coordinator DeWayne Walker.

Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman: Mack Brown is done celebrating Texas' national championship and has turned his attention to the 2006 season (registration).

Dave Reardon, Honolulu Star-Bulletin: Hawaii, which will open at Alabama, is hopeful of adding a 13th game to the 2006 schedule.

Friday, February 24, 2006

How the Really, Really Rich Get Richer

Depending on how you look at it, Boone Pickens either gave Oklahoma State the gift of the century or took advantage of the system to pull a fast one. Pickens, you may recall, gave $165 million to Oklahoma State on Dec. 30, but it turns out his act of kindness looks more like a temporary tax break. Pickens, an Oklahoma State alum pictured with his wife Nelda in 2003, reportedly still controls the money, which now rests in a hedge fund. Records show the funds spent less than an hour in the account of the university's charity before it was moved to the fund. "Sadly, it's another case of a rich man manipulating charity for his own benefit," said Marcus Owens, a lawyer who formerly headed the division of the I.R.S. that oversees tax-exempt groups. And not everybody in Stillwater is pleased with the gift (some registration).

Reporters' Notebooks

Roanoke Times: Felix Pork, one of the people to accuse former Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick of pulling a gun on them in January, was indicted on a charge of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Evan Woodbery, Mobile Register: Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville has announced a large-scale restructuring of the defense.

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times: Former USC running back Reggie Bush already knows one thing. There is no state tax in Texas.

Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News: USC added another recruit to its 2006 class when receiver Vidal Hazelton signed a letter-of-intent.

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia Tech added three assistants, including former North Carolina State coach Mike O'Cain.

Chad Hartley, Reno Gazette-Journal: Nevada's 2006 schedule includes a Sept. 1 game against Fresno State that will be on national television.

Fresno Bee: Fresno State coach Pat Hill hired Tim Skipper to coach running backs and Derek Frazier to coach the offensive line.

Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman: Boise State will be a regular on ESPN in 2006 and Idaho will play one of the nation's toughest schedules.

Omar Kelly, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Former Murray State coach Joe Pannunzio was hired to coach Miami's tight ends.

Bryan Mullen, Tennessean: Vanderbilt filled its opening by hiring Rick Logo to coach the defensive line.

Cedar Rapids Gazette: Iowa State coach Dan McCarney hired three assistants, including Brian Schneider, who left UCLA last week (subscription, story is in comments).

Darren Sabedra, Mercury News: Stanford and San Jose State have agreed to move their Sept. 9 game to Spartan Stadium, buying more time for Stanford to finish work on its stadium. Link to Stanford Stadium cam.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

It Happened

The day Tom Osborne and Barry Switzer become good buddies is the day hell freezes over, right? Well, it happened. There was a time when Osborne and Switzer probably wanted to strangle each other, but those days are gone. Switzer, the former Oklahoma coach, made an appearance Wednesday with Osborne, the former Nebraska coach. The purpose? To rally support for Osborne's bid to become governor of Nebraska. "After what he did in winning national championships in the 1990s and dominating college football," Switzer said, "running this state would be easy." Osborne, a Republican, is serving his third term as 3rd District congressman in Nebraska and has steamrolled his competition in the political arena, and we suspect he will have the upper hand in this race, too.

For This Week, the Wiz Is No. 1

We could not let the day pass without mentioning that AOL's Sports Bloggers Live named this site its Blog of the Week. How cool is that? Needless to say, the Wiz was stoked when he heard the news, especially considering the number of great blogs out there. So we wanted to say thanks to the crew at AOL and encourage you to visit their site, and to also pay a visit to Mr. Irrelevant's fine blog. We suspect he is behind all of this.

Reporters' Notebooks

Brian Murphy, Idaho Statesman: Enthusiastic Idaho fans flocked to a luncheon for new coach Dennis Erickson and gave him a minute-long standing ovation.

Paul Gattis, Huntsville Times: Alabama cornerback Ramzee Robinson played the 2005 season with a fractured vertebrae and sustained a second fracture late in the season, but still played in the Cotton Bowl.

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia offensive lineman Ian Smith, already suspended for the first two games of 2006, was arrested again (registration).

Tony Barnhart, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: ESPN analyst Bill Curry was runner-up in his bid to become athletic director at Georgia Tech (registration).

Bradley Olson, Baltimore Sun: Navy quarterback Lamar Owens was arrested and charged with rape, indecent assault and conduct unbecoming of an officer.

Shawn Courchesne, Hartford Courant: Connecticut running backs coach Terry Richardson was arrested and charged with two felonies.

Jorge Milian, Palm Beach Post: Marquis Mosley, formerly of Northern Illinois, will become receivers coach at Miami.

Chip Scoggins, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Iowa's decision to pay Montana $650,000 for a game in 2006 highlights the competitive nature of scheduling for Division I-A teams (registration).

Tim Doherty, Clarion Ledger: A loss by the NCAA in a lawsuit over athletic scholarships could create financial burdens for Mississippi, Mississippi State and Southern Mississippi.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Separating the Men From the Boys

Wednesday marks the start of the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. Three of the biggest names in the draft — Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and Vince Young — will not work out for teams, choosing instead to participate only in psychological examinations and individual team interviews. But for the other players, these will be the biggest days of their lives. Even one-tenth of a second difference between prospects could mean millions of dollars. And what would a combine be without the mysterious Wonderlic test? Here's an example of what the test is all about. A tip of the hat for our coverage goes to Ben Maller, who has been the leader since day one in combine coverage. We appreciate the links he has provided. Oh, and by the way, the NFL draft is April 29-30.

Gil Brandt, NFL.com: Tennessee has had the most players selected in the past 10 drafts (64). USC has the most players at this year's combine (14).

Draft Board Insider: A breakdown of who is attending the combine and what tests players at each position will go through. A terrific site.

Steven M. Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: Nebraska players taking part in the combine have wisely sought counsel from former Cornhusker Fabian Washington, who used the event to become a first-round pick.

Mike Garafolo, Newark Star-Ledger: Rutgers, coming off its first bowl appearance in 27 years, had 18 players eligible for the combine, but none were invited. The news didn't go over well with the Scarlet Knights.

Mark Maske, Washington Post: Maryland tight end Vernon Davis could see his stock soar at the combine (registration).

Paul Zeise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Toledo quarterback Bruce Gradkowski proved the critics wrong at Toledo. Now he has to do it all over again at Indianapolis.

Steve King, Cleveland Browns.com: A look at the history of the combine, which got its start nearly 30 years ago.

Dept. of USC: From Video to Billboards

We told you about Anthony Davis' gastric bypass surgery that will be cybercast. Now you can see the former Trojan in his heyday, racing through the Notre Dame defense in what is arguably the greatest turnaround of a college game. The year was 1974, and USC trailed Notre Dame, 24-0, late in the second quarter. Davis scores on a swing pass to make it 24-6 at halftime, then he returns the second-half kickoff for a touchdown to ignite the thunderous comeback that leads to a 55-24 Trojan victory. A Trojan fan has put together a video package of this game, along with highlight packages from the 2002-2005 seasons. If you're a junky and in need of a football fix, then check it out. And now for our billboard update. Matt Leinart beat them all, but the site One Peat says its billboard in L.A. will be up within six days. We are not sure where USC Dynasty is headed with its plans. The advertising agency allegedly backed out of the deal for a billboard in Baton Rouge because of threats of vandalism. Bottom line: All talk, no action from Dynasty.

Reporters' Notebooks

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia coach Mark Richt discusses his new contract, spring drills and the Sugar Bowl loss to West Virginia. Bulldog cornerback Antonio Sims also lost his appeal of a university suspension and won't play this fall (registration).

Otis Kirk, Northwest Arkansas Times: Arkansas must be trying to corner the market on quarterbacks. Junior standout Nathan Dick, brother of Razorback quarterback Casey Dick, was in Fayetteville for an unofficial visit last weekend.

Edgar Thompson, Palm Beach Post: No charges will be filed in connection with a shooting incident earlier this month that involved members of the Florida team and one former Gator.

Jorge Milian, Palm Beach Post: Miami coach Larry Coker interviewed two candidates this week and continued to work toward filling his staff.

Tuscaloosa Times: Alabama receiver Tyrone Prothro underwent successful surgery to insert a rod in his left leg, which was broken Oct. 1, but his return for 2006 remains questionable (registration).

Mark Alesia, Indianapolis Star: Former football players from Stanford and UCLA are among plaintiffs in what is being described as "a serious lawsuit" against the NCAA.

Brian Dohn, L.A. Daily News: Defensive tackle Kevin Brown, who missed last season because of ankle surgery, will be held out of UCLA's contact drills until fall.

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Tony Franklin, a three-year starter in Virginia's secondary, cleared a legal hurdle in his effort to return to the team.

Centre Daily Times: Former Penn State quarterback Zack Mills has been named an offensive graduate assistant at Temple.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Handwriting Is on the Wall

Our posting of Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk cashing in on the autograph circuit created quite a stir. In the interest of fairness, there are others up to such nefarious acts. Let's start with Texas' Vince Young, left, who last month appeared at the Tristar show in his hometown of Houston. For only $79, fans were able to get Young's signature on one item (no discount for two or more). For $99, they were able to get their picture taken with Young. "It's not really about the pay," said Young, who indicated the money would go "toward different things I've got set up for the community and foundations." Excuse us Vince, but our B.S. meter just went off and we have to reset it. Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, center, spends considerable time on his penmanship. In fact, this Friday you can join the coach and several members of the 2002 national championship team at the Columbus Destroyers game against the dreaded Arizona Rattlers. The group will be available for a 75-minute autograph session before kickoff. Of course, all of this is linked on Tressel's homepage. Penn State fans can mark their calendars for March 31. Michael Robinson will be in Scranton to cash in. A real bargain will be the autographed ticket and No. 12 jersey for only $75. If you want to step it up a notch, you can get an NFL leather game ball, signed by Robinson, for $90. Now we are well aware many items find their way to eBay and none of this violates NCAA rules, but all of this is disturbing to say the least. And how much of this income actually gets reported to the IRS? Sorry, but this stinks (some registration).

'The Rich White Guy' Also Blogs

Lynn Swann won't be getting the Wiz's vote in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race because, well, the Wiz doesn't live in Pennsylvania. We're not even sure who will be on the ballot in our neck of the woods, which can best be described as "parts unknown." But the Wiz always enjoyed Swann's work as a sideline reporter — frankly, the most thankless job on a broadcasting team — and likes to keep readers up-to-date on Swann's race for governor. Turns out the candidate, known as 'the Rich White Guy,' has taken to blogging. Or, as any good republican will do, is having other people blog for him. Here is a link to Swann's blog. And yes, you can post comments.

A Texas-Sized Trial Is Set to Begin

Baylor linebackers coach Gary Joe Kinne is ready to move on, but the past will always haunt him. Kinne was coach of Canton High in Texas last April 7 when a man barged into his office and fired a shot, hitting Kinne in the abdomen. Kinne lost 80% of his liver in the shooting. On Tuesday, opening statements begin in the trial of Jeff Doyal Robertson, who is accused of shooting Kinne. Robertson, who has remained in jail on $1 million bail since being arrested shortly after the shooting, has a tattoo on an arm of cartoon character Yosemite Sam brandishing two guns with the words, "Born to Raise Hell." (some registration).

Reporters' Notebooks

Christopher Walsh, Tuscaloosa News: Day 1 has arrived on the 2006 season for Alabama, which begins spring drills on Friday (registration).

Steven M. Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: The success of Nebraska's offensive line in 2006 could rest with the chronically sore right knee of Greg Austin.

Suzanne Halliburton, Austin American-Statesman: Former Texas quarterback Vince Young won't be displaying his unique set of skills for scouts at this week's NFL combine (registration).

Jeff White, Richmond Times-Dispatch: The father of Virginia's Ahmad Brooks said reports that his son had been dismissed from the team are false. The Cavalier Daily says Brooks failed a drug test (tip of the hat to the great Ben Maller site).

Leroy Bridges, Purdue Exponent: Former Purdue linebacker Kyle Williams is in more trouble. The "Bonecrusher" is facing four charges after allegedly attacking a woman on Feb. 12.

Mike Knobler, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Bill Curry's days as an ESPN commentator could be numbered. He's a finalist to become Georgia Tech's athletics director (registration).

Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema raided Rice's staff for a defensive line coach (registration).

Steve Ellis, Tallahassee Democrat: Florida State reserve running back Lamar Lewis. lost in the shuffle, will transfer.

Don Williams, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Texas Tech has added Brian Mitchell, who coached cornerbacks at Brigham Young the past 12 seasons, to its staff.

Arizona Republic: Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter completed a makeover of his staff by hiring a former UCLA standout as defensive line coach.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Buckeyes Hawk Autographs for Money

Ohio State's A.J. Hawk is cashing in on his fame. Although exact dollar amounts are not known, it's clear former Buckeye players earn big bucks on the autograph circuit. The Cleveland Plain Dealer estimates Hawk made $15,000 for one three-hour event. That's nothing compared with the expected $30 million contract the linebacker will sign after his selection in the NFL draft, but Hawk's net in the autograph season likely will be more than some of his biggest fans earn in a year. This gravy train has been going on for many years and every outgoing Buckeye player has his eye on the pot of gold. "Going to Ohio State, the older guys talked about it," senior offensive lineman Rob Sims said. "The national championship [year], those guys were cleaning up."

Why Not Double Secret Probation?

Consider the plight of the college student while you recover from that President's Day hangover. Authorities across this great land of ours continue to crack down on tomorrow's leaders. Namely, the right to party. Like this will make students go to class or something. ... In Iowa, there is a movement afoot by legislators to register kegs. The thinking is that it would make it easier to track down those responsible for supplying beer to minors. "Just because they're listed as having a keg doesn't mean we're going to be stopping by," Iowa City Police Chief Sam Hargadine said. ... Yea, and the earth is flat, Sam. In Alabama, a similar movement is gaining popularity among legislators. This is not going over well with one writer for Crimson White, Alabama's student newspaper. "Let me just start by giving a hearty congrats to you, Alabama. Not only are we behind everyone else in the country in economics, education and politics, now we are running backward faster than Tyrone Prothro can run into the end zone. In addition to our host of other problems, we've also catapulted ourselves back another 80 years to Prohibition," writes Jon Payne. He continues: "I have pride for the place where I live. I do not have pride in the way it's governed. If I wanted to be governed by a group of idiots who mismanage money and push their agenda onto everybody else, I would go join a cult. As it is, I will graduate from the University proudly, but what will make me even more proud is the day I move out of this state." (some registration).

Where's Karl Rove When You Need Him?

It appears Florida Governor Jeb Bush's text messaging of New Jersey prep recruit Myron Rolle is raising a few eyebrows in Washington. The Washington Post ran an item on page A2 of its Sunday editions summarizing Bush's roll in Rolle's recruitment and reported that the NCAA is awaiting more information on the incident to see if the governor violated rules. Bush is trying to wipe his hands clean of the incident and smooth things over with fans of rivals Florida and Miami, but his latest comment likely didn't do much to win over Gator fans. "I would have done the exact same thing for the Gators and for the Hurricanes," Bush said. "Truth be known, I'm a Hurricane fan." (some registration).

Reporters' Notebooks

Jim Carty, Ann Arbor News: What can we expect now that the grand Michigan coaching shuffle has been completed?

Otis Kirk, Northwest Arkansas Times: With spring football fast approaching, a look at newcomers who could have an impact at Arkansas.

Seattle Times: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Hawaii and Nevada Las Vegas have been added to future Washington State schedules, but Ohio State canceled a 2009 game against the Cougars.

Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News: Coach Pete Carroll appears to be closing in on a long-time NFL assistant to coach USC's special teams.

Thomas Murphy, Mobile Register: Coach Mike Shula will likely face several questions about negotiations over a contract extension Monday when he previews Alabama's spring workouts.

Ian R. Rapoport, Clarion Ledger: Mississippi State moved quickly to fill the opening created by the departure of assistant Freddie Kitchens.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

We Must Say, It Takes Guts to Do This

Set your sports calendar for March 11. One of the year's biggest events is scheduled that day. Former USC tailback Anthony Davis is going to have gastric bypass surgery and the 90-minute procedure will be cybercast by the site Lite and Hope. Doing the play-by-play will be singer Carnie Wilson, who underwent the procedure in 1999 and also had it cybercast. Davis was selected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005 and is best remembered for his six-touchdown game against Notre Dame in 1972 and his return of the second-half kickoff for a touchdown in the 1974 game that ignited the Trojans to a 55-24 victory over the Fighting Irish. Davis, who did a signature knee dance after scoring a touchdown, weighed 175 pounds back then, but today he is full-bodied 280. He also suffers from sleep apnea, which is connected to his weight problems. "Reggie White had sleep apnea and was overweight, and when he died, that was a wake-up call for me," said Davis, who was runner-up to Ohio State's Archie Griffin in the 1974 Heisman Trophy voting.

Bednarik: Paterno Should Call It Quits

If you thought going 11-1 and winning the Orange Bowl was enough to get the heat off Penn State coach Joe Paterno, well, think again. NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Chuck Bednarik, 80, had some old-school advice for youngster Paterno, 79. "You've had (your time); you've been a success; you'll get in the Hall of Fame. Stop it. Let somebody else take over," Bednarik said at a "Tailgating With the Lions" banquet last week. He wasn't finished. "(Paterno is) too old. Too old for a college coach, believe me. No, Joe, you're a great coach. But, hey, you've had enough."

Reporters' Notebooks

Joseph Person, Columbia State: Yet another SEC school plans to raise ticket prices. This time it's South Carolina.

Zach Silka, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Miami plans changes to its offense, with combinations of three- and four-wideout sets and one- and two-back sets with multiple tight ends.

Carter Stickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia could be looking at starting a freshman at quarterback. Plus, Bulldog offensive lineman Ian Smith was suspended for two games after an arrest on a charge of public intoxication (registration).

Anthony Cotton, Denver Post: Former USC running back and Denver native LenDale White thinks he will be selected in the first 10 picks of the NFL draft.

Bob Wieneke, South Bend Tribune: Notre Dame coach Crewcut Charlie Weis says tight end Joey Hiben didn't have to choose between football and architecture.

David White, Fresno Bee: Fresno State offensive line coach Mark Weber is the third assistant to leave this offseason. He might not be the last.

Ian R. Rapoport, Clarion-Ledger: When Bill Parcells called, Mississippi State assistant Freddie Kitchens couldn't turn him down.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

While the websites One Peat and USC Dynasty continue to snipe at each other and proclaim they are on the verge of putting up billboards and escalating their war of words, we turn our attention to somebody who actually gets things done. Quarterback Matt Leinart, the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner from USC, had 14 billboards posted Friday in the L.A. area to thank Trojan fans. The billboard promotion coincided with the unveiling of a new site, Matt Leinart QB. Agent Leigh Steinberg, who represents Leinart, is no doubt orchestrating the moves to increase Leinart's marketability. Certainly a savvy move given Leinart's ties to L.A., arguably the entertainment capital of the world.

Reporters' Notebooks

Brian Dohn, L.A. Daily News: UCLA begins spring practice on Thursday, and sophomore Ben Olson is the clear-cut No. 1 at quarterback.

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia coach Mark Richt is defending his discipline measures after two players recently got into trouble (registration).

Mike Knobler, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey says he might relinquish some of his play-calling duties (registration).

Jorge Milian, Palm Beach Post: Miami scored a victory of sorts when tight ends coach Mario Cristobal, who interviewed with the New York Jets, announced he would remain with the Hurricanes.

Greg Wallace, Anderson Independent-Mail: Clemson has reported two secondary violations involving recruits to the NCAA (registration).

Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel: Now we get to see whether Florida coach Urban Meyer truly is a tough disciplinarian or just a tough talker.

Friday, February 17, 2006

A True Ranking of a Recruiting Class

Greg Eslinger, left, was headed to I-AA Montana or North Dakota, then along came Minnesota coach Glen Mason. He offered the Bismark native a scholarship and the center ended up winning the Outland and Rimington trophies. Then there is Joe Klopfenstein. Not much was expected of the skinny kid from down the road in Aurora, but he prospered at Boulder and will be one of the top tight ends selected in the NFL draft. We've said it before and will say it again: rankings of recruiting classes are a bunch of crap. For every can't-miss blue chip player, there is a kid who was regarded as second-rate that ends up becoming a better player. College Football News recently did a series on the recruits of 2002, looking at the booms and busts on offense and defense. The excellent site also looks at late bloomers of 2001 and memorable busts from the same year.

Reporters' Notebooks

Bob Wieneke, South Bend Tribune: Hats off to Joey Hiben, a promising tight end at Notre Dame. He quit the team to concentrate on academics.

Jorge Milian, Palm Post Post: Rich Olson was unemployed after being fired by the Minnesota Vikings, but he has a new gig: offensive coordinator at Miami.

Tom Mulhern, Wisconsin State Journal: Earl Lane was added to Wisconsin's staff on Sunday. On Wednesday, he was gone. The Badgers also named Bill Nayes as director of football operations.

Oklahoman: Oklahoma and Miami have agreed on a home-and-home series, with the first game scheduled for Sept. 8, 2007, at Norman (registration).

EDSBS: The excellent blog is first with the news that Gator receiver Kenneth Tookes acknowledged firing a gunshot into an apartment.

Randy Peterson, Des Moines Register: Iowa State has lost another assistant. DeMontie Cross is off to the Buffalo Bills, becoming the fifth assistant under coach Dan McCarney to leave for the NFL.

Ryan Wood, Lawrence Journal-World: Kansas added a game against Louisiana Monroe to its schedule, which is now complete with creampuffs.

Jim Carty, Ann Arbor News: Michigan named former Buffalo Bill assistant Steve Szabo and former Wisconsin aide Ron Lee to its staff.

Mike Knobler, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey has filled two openings on his staff (registration).

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Looking for Money? We've Got Volunteers

After a relative period of calm, a volcano of activity took place regarding the Tennessee Volunteers. First, Tennessee announced an increase in ticket prices for 2006. With seven home games at Neyland Stadium, even a modest increase will amount to millions for Volunteer coffers. But come on, it takes a pair of brass balls to jack up ticket prices after a 5-6 season, doesn't it? From all indications, Tennessee officials suddenly realized fans had extra change in their pockets because they didn't have to spend money traveling to a bowl game last season, so why not fleece it? As for the other developments, the mother of Jacques McClendon, a prep lineman who signed with Tennessee on Feb. 1, received extra benefits from a Knoxville attorney whose son just happens to go to school with Jacques (wink, wink). Young Jacques is currently ineligible until a few things are cleared up. But if he doesn't work out, coach Phil Fulmer is already putting together his class of 2007.

Reporters' Notebooks

Duff Wilson, New York Times: The NCAA plans to stop accepting transcripts from schools identified as diploma mills (registration).

Steve Kirk, Birmingham News: Curtis Dawson, a promising defensive lineman, has been booted off Alabama's team for a second time.

Michael Wallace, Clarion-Ledger: Best read of the day, chronicling the journey of former Alabama coach Mike DuBose, now the coach at Millsaps College.

Omar Kelly, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Miami is still searching for an offensive coordinator, but coach Larry Coker is unlikely to take on those duties.

Tom Kubat, Lafayette Journal and Courier: Purdue coach Joe Tiller wastes no time replacing offensive coordinator Jim Chaney by promoting offensive line coach Bill Legg.

Steven M. Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: Nebraska defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove explains why he said no to an offer from the Minnesota Vikings.

Matthew Aguilar, El Paso Times: Receiver Fred Rouse, who was dismissed from the Florida State team last week for an unspecified violation of team rules, could be headed to Texas El Paso.

Brian Dohn, L.A. Daily News: UCLA named John Wristen, late of Colorado, as an assistant. He will coach tight ends and special teams.

Randy Peterson, Des Moines Register: Jeff Horton, who was named an assistant at Iowa State on Jan. 15, is leaving to take a job with the St. Louis Rams.

Bryan Strickland, Durham Herald-Sun: Duke coach Ted Roof has named two former players to positions on his staff.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Yes, We're Going to the Dogs

There is no end to the off-season college football news. A familiar face appeared Monday and Tuesday nights at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club show. We are talking about former Florida State linebacker Keith Carter. Carter was running around before the sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden with Shaka Zulu, his prized Rottweiler. It brought back memories of his chasing down running backs from rivals Florida and Miami. Shaka Zulu did quite well, winning the Working category and advancing to the Best In Show cup. "I don't know if I can articulate what this win means," he said. Shaka Zulu didn't win Best In Show, but don't count out the former Seminole in future competitions now that he has the experience behind him.

Reporters' Notebooks

Brent Schrotenboer, San Diego Union-Tribune: San Diego State ranks first among the seven public schools in the Mountain West in salaries for assistant coaches.

Dave Reardon, Honolulu Star-Bulletin: Hawaii and Oregon State have agreed on a home-and-home series. The first game will be Dec. 2 at Aloha Stadium.

Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin is tossing around the idea of playing a game at Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers.

Tom Kubat Lafayette Journal and Courier: Purdue has lost its third assistant since the end of the season and this is a biggie. Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney is off to the St. Louis Rams.

Andy Staples, Tampa Tribune: A bizarre incident involving the shooting of a gun at a Gainesville apartment complex has police questioning former Florida cornerback Dee Webb.

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia raided Virginia Tech's staff to find a replacement for assistant Kirby Smart, who left last week for a job with the Miami Dolphins (registration).

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Remembering the Boycott of 1969

The late 1960s was marked by unrest on college campuses. The Vietnam War was in full bloom and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The frustration eventually made its way to the gridiron. Sixteen black members of Iowa's team boycotted spring practice in 1969, including running back Dennis Green, left, who went on to successful career as a coach. The players were protesting a decision by coach Ray Nagel to suspended two black players — both starters from the previous season — for undisclosed reasons. As the '69 season grew near, the players, including Green, asked to be reinstated. Nagel had the squad vote on the players individually at a team meeting. Seven were reinstated, including Green, but five were rejected. In observance of Black History Month, the Iowa City Press-Citizen is looking back at the university's legacy of equality for the black athlete. Other features include the Hawkeyes' landmark 1950 game against Miami in the Orange Bowl and the story behind the Floyd of Rosedale trophy.

Hey, That Looks Like Steve Spurrier!

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier leaves a big footprint. He spent last weekend in Gainesville for business and, of course, a golf outing, then thought he would take in the South Carolina-Florida women's basketball game. So the former Gator coach put on a hat (a visor, we presume) and sunglasses as a disguise. He got as far as the ticket window before his cover was blown. Said Spurrier, "I got up to the ticket window and the woman says, 'Hey coach. I thought you'd be here for this game.' " The curse is clearly on. South Carolina has yet to lose to Florida in any sport since Spurrier's Gamecocks defeated the Gators last fall. So guess who won Sunday's game? South Carolina stunned Florida, 81-63, before 1,583.

Reporters' Notebooks

Brian Dohn, L.A. Daily News: Brian Schneider, one of the first assistants hired by UCLA coach Karl Dorrell, is leaving the staff.

Tom Mulhern, Wisconsin State Journal: Wisconsin has filled an opening in its schedule with a game against Buffalo and is close an agreement on a home-and-home series against Washington State.

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Rodney Garner, Georgia's top recruiter, says no to an offer from the New Orleans Saints (registration).

St. Paul Pioneer Press: Minnesota coach Glen Mason announced hirings, promotions and the retirement of assistant head coach Moe Ankney (registration).

Linda Ebbing, Cox News Service: Tim Cooper, an assistant with Miami (Ohio), has been suspended after being arrested and charged with driving under the influence (registration). Tip of the hat to EDSBS.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Football Ends, but Not the Pain

Each Saturday in the fall, thousands of players put their lives on the line as their colleges earn big payouts and grab priceless national prestige. Decory Bryant, a cornerback at Georgia, knew the risk and, with his career soaring toward a possible selection in the first round of the NFL draft, the senior sought to secure an insurance policy to guard against a career-ending injury. But the very week he was to sign the policy, he suffered a broken neck, and his playing career was over. Now Bryant is suing the university. "I'm not out to destroy anything," he says. "I'm out to get what's owed to me."

Reporters' Notebooks

Scott Wolf, L.A. Daily News: USC could lose its third assistant coach to the NFL because secondary coach Rocky Seto was offered a job with the Buffalo Bills.

Tom Mulhern, Wisconsin State Journal: Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema hired a defensive line coach that should help the Badgers' recruiting efforts in Florida.

Kevin Scarbinsky, Birmingham News: A documentary on the 1970 USC-Alabama game will air Monday night on CSTV.

Jerry Hills, Waco Tribune-Herald: Former Baylor offensive tackle Fred Miller is writing a big check to donate to the Bear athletic department.

Jim Armstrong, Denver Post: New Colorado coach Dan Hawkins has forged a bond with former Buff coach Dan McCartney.

Heather A. Dinich, Baltimore Sun: Charlie Taaffe, Maryland's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, resigned to "explore other coaching opportunities." (registration).

Sunday, February 12, 2006

This Is One Ball You Don't Want to Fumble

Say you have a football autographed by 19 Heisman Trophy winners, including John Cappelletti, shown above gaining yardage in a 1973 game against West Virginia. Other notable signatures include Eric Crouch, John David Crow, Tony Dorsett, Steve Owens, Johnny Rodgers, George Rogers, Mike Rozier, Rashaan Salaam, Billy Sims, Gino Torretta, Charles White and Danny Wuerffel. What would a gem like this be worth? You might be surprised (registration).

Reporters' Notebooks

Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News: The shuffling continues at Michigan. Jim Herrmann, who was the Wolverines defensive coordinator, is taking a job with the New York Jets.

Greg Auman, St. Petersburg Times: Mike Simmonds, who recently accepted a position on the coaching staff at South Florida, was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence.

Ray Melick, Birmingham News: Exactly who is complaining that games are too long? It's certainly not college football fanatics.

Michelle Hiskey, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Former Georgia running back Herschel Walker is a member of a White House delegation at the Winter Olympics (registration).

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The departure of Georgia running backs coach Kirby Smart to the Miami Dolphins has upset one Bulldog recruit (registration).

Jon Malavolti, Lansing State Journal: Dan Enos, a former quarterback at Michigan State, is returning as an assistant coach.

Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman: Boise State's new $9.5 million indoor training facility is ready for its public debut.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Confessions of a Cowgirl

There is one sure way to drive traffic to a website, and SI on Campus took the plunge with a story and slideshow featuring Jenn Sterger, the Florida State coed who is about to make it big with spreads in Maxim (March) and Playboy (May). She not only tells the story of her rise to fame, but offers some fresh material from photo shoots that are displayed in a slideshow. And if you want even more, here is the link to our previous posting about Sterger.

Reporters' Notebooks

Lance Pugmire and Ashley Powers, Los Angeles Times: The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department has completed its investigation into a controversial shooting involving deputy Ivory Webb, a former receiver at Iowa.

Bruce Cadwallader, Columbus Dispatch: Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett was indicted on charges of aggravated robbery (subscription, so story is in comments).

Joseph Person, Columbia State: South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is taking a gamble by hiring 27-year-old David Reaves as recruiting coordinator. Spurrier also named Tyrone Nix as defensive coordinator.

Idaho Statesman: Dennis Erickson, hired Thursday as Idaho's coach, is moving quickly to complete his staff.

Ian R. Rapoport, Clarion-Ledger: Mississippi State and West Virginia have completed negotiations for a home-and-home series.

Tara Copp, Austin American-Statesman: Next up for the national champion Texas Longhorns is a trip Tuesday to the White House (registration).

Natalie Meisler, Denver Post: The athletic director's job at Colorado State has become a revolving door, creating uncertainty for the football program.

Paul Zeise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh's 2006 schedule will include seven home games.

Moisekapenda Bower, Houston Chronicle: Rice's nonconference schedule is as challenging as it gets, with games against UCLA, Texas and Florida State.

Columnists' Corner

Jim Donaldson, Providence Journal: It's time to stop the hypocrisy. Let's legalize sports betting (registration).

Paul Finebaum, Mobile Register: After looking over SEC schedules for 2006, fans should be demanding their money back.

Andy Baggot, Wisconsin State Journal: Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez needs to put his foot down and get rid of all the troublemakers.

Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel: Florida State has to ask Gov. Jeb Bush to help with its recruiting efforts by sending a text message to a New Jersey prep cornerback? Something is wrong in Tallahassee.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Coaches Challenge All but a Done Deal

The NCAA's Playing Rules Oversight Panel is expected to approve several rules changes when it meets in March, and none of them have anything to do with player's names on the back of jerseys. The rule that likely will have the biggest impact allows coaches to challenge an official's call, much like the NFL. The Wiz believes this is a terrific idea, as coaches were burning timeouts in order to give time to the replay official to examine a play, or rushing their team to the line of scrimmage in order snap the ball before a play could be reviewed. Other proposals include cutting halftime from 20 minutes to 15 minutes, starting the clock as soon as the ball is ready for play after a change of possession, and starting the clock when the kicker's foot touches the ball rather than waiting for the receiving team to touch it (registration).

Coming to a Theater Near You?

You might remember Tim Frisby. He's the 40-year-old father of six and veteran of the first Gulf War and Kosovo who walked on at South Carolina and eventually caught a pass in a game against Troy. Well, the old man appears to be close to cashing in on his story. He signed with a Los Angeles talent agency after the Gamecocks' loss in the Independence Bowl and word is that a deal is close to bring his story to the big screen. So now Frisby, right, has to fight off all the riff-raff, such as ESPN's Chris Fowler.

Officials Miss Wardrobe Malfunction

Just how bad does the officiating have to get before something is done? The site Sportsbybrooks brings attention to yet another blown call, an obvious hold in the Lingerie Bowl that the officials missed. And it wasn't even sent upstairs so the boys in the booth could review it! How about a coaches challenge?

Clear Sailing for 'the Rich White Guy'

It has been a big week for former ABC sideline reporter Lynn Swann, who is running for governor of Pennsylvania. Bill Scranton, his main opponent for the Republican nomination, dropped out, leaving Swann nothing but open field as he heads for a likely November showdown against Democratic incumbent Ed Rendell. Scranton's campaign never got rolling and was dealt a blow when aide James Seif said, "The rich white guy in this campaign is Lynn Swann." Seif resigned, and Scranton, realizing later he had no chance of getting the party's endorsement, called it quits without debating Swann. Not everybody is happy about this, at least in Republican circles, but Rendell likely is smiling all the way to the bank. The savvy fundraiser ended 2005 with a campaign nestegg of $12 million. Swann, on the other hand, had only $1 million. Oh, in case you were wondering, the rich white guy on the right is Swann. The other guy is the alleged leader of the "free" world.

Reporters' Notebooks

Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News: The chaos continues at Michigan, where Ron English, who earlier in the week accepted a job with the Chicago Bears, is back at Ann Arbor as defensive coordinator.

Howie Stalwick, Idaho Statesman: Idaho's athletic department website shut down automatically because of high volumes of traffic after the announcement that Dennis Erickson was hired as coach.

Aron Kahn, St. Paul Pioneer Press: The pollution on the land that Minnesota plans to build a new stadium is not as bad as initially feared, but officials are not ready to reduce the projected $248 million price tag.

Tom Witosky, Des Moines Register: A motion has been filed to revoke the probation of former Iowa State defensive end Jason Berryman.

Charles Durrenberger, Arizona Daily Star: Louis Holmes, the nation's No. 1 junior college recruit, tells Arizona fans not to worry, that he will be with the team this fall.

Ralph K.M. Haurwitz, Austin American-Statesman: Texas got the go-ahead to start construction on a $149.9 million remodeling and expansion of Royal-Memorial Stadium.

Joseph Person, Columbia State: South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is trying to lure 'Brother' Oliver out of retirement to coach the Gamecock defense.

Robbie Neiswanger, Clarion-Ledger: If you're not cheating, you're not trying: Mississippi has reported four NCAA violations involving eight members of the 2006 recruiting class.

Rodney McKissic, Buffalo News: Buffalo is attempting to piece together an attractive nonconference schedule, but a least one team, West Virginia, is upset the Bulls are trying to pull out of a game.

Terry Hutchens, Indianapolis Star: Indiana's 2006 schedule will include seven games at home.

Michael Murphy, Houston Chronicle: Rivals Houston and Rice will open the 2006 season with a Conference USA game at Rice.

Daily Camera: Colorado has added to its 2006 recruiting class, getting a tight end from America Samoa who made his first snowball wearing the traditional Samoan lavalava.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

He'll Give It Another Go in Idaho

Idaho a football power? The belief in the land of the spud is that if Dennis Erickson can't do it, then it simply can't be done. Expectations are sky high now that Erickson is the coach of the Vandals, but let us start with a 2006 nonconference schedule that includes road games at Michigan State, Washington State and Oregon State. It's clear the big boys regard Idaho as fodder and why not? The team hasn't won more than three games since 2000. But give Idaho credit for turning around a bad situation (the unexpected departure of Nick Holt) into a big positive. If you want to see a video of the Erickson's giddy introductory press conference, we have a link. Erickson also gave KTVB a one-on-one interview, and we have a link to that video.

They'll Be No Re-Pete of That Loss to Texas

There's plenty to ponder today as we turn our attention to Los Angeles. Like which is more full of coke, that vending machine at the office, or any of the performers at Wednesday night's Grammys? But since we like to keep this blog on football, let's get right to it. USC coach Pete Carroll (he's the guy on the right), who lost another assistant when cornerbacks coach Greg Burns bolted for Tampa Bay (the second Trojan aide this week to join the Buccaneers), says his hiring of former Idaho coach Nick Holt will allow him to abdicate his duties as defensive coordinator. He now plans to immerse himself in all facets of planning. "We don't need to change," he said. "We need to get better and that's what this allows." OK, then. Those other guys in the photo? The dude on the left is former Trojan running back Petros Papadakis. He's the son of the gentleman in the middle, John Papadakis, the owner of Papadakis Taverna, which the Fort Worth Star-Telegram identified as the Trojans' "secret weapon when it comes to landing top recruits." No word yet if any of the entertaining of recruits at Papadakis Taverna was in violation of NCAA rules.

Reporters' Notebooks

Paul Gattis, Huntsville Times: Alabama linebacker Chris Keys had surgery to repair a broken ankle, believed to have been suffered in a fight with a teammate.

Gregg Hennigan, Iowa City Press-Citizen: The $86.8 million renovation of Iowa's Kinnick Stadium is on schedule thanks to some unseasonably warm weather.

Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle: What is a national title worth these days? For Texas' Mack Brown, it means a raise of $291,000.

Mike Lucas, Capital Times: John Palermo didn't know if he wanted to continue to coach, but the former Wisconsin assistant is heading to Miami to join Larry Coker's staff.

Tom Luicci, Newark Star-Ledger: Rutgers' turnaround has earned it two prime spots on ESPN telecasts for the 2006 season.

Patrick Obley, Columbia State: What does $54 million get you? Plenty of blue-chip recruits, according to Clemson's Tommy Bowden, the father of Lauren Bowden.

Mick McGrane, San Diego Union-Tribune: San Diego State coach Chuck Long has hired a former USC center to fill out his staff.

Ryan Wood, Lawrence Journal-World: Mike Mallory, son for former college head coach Bill Mallory, is joining the staff at Kansas.

Chuck Finder, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: A fourth of West Virginia's 12 games will be played on weeknights in 2006. The Nehlen Blog says the challenging schedule will give Louisville the upper hand in the Big East race.

Orson Swindle, EDSBS: The excellent blog has a real find: A football autographed by Mitch Mustain, the hotshot prep quarterback who will attend Arkansas, sold on eBay for $107.50.

Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman: Boise State coach Chris Petersen completed his staff with the hiring of former Baylor assistant Brent Pease to coach receivers.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Are They Vandals or Coaches?

They must be getting serious about football in Moscow. That or they are seriously being used. It seems Dennis Erickson has held every job in the Great Northwest, among other stops, so now he's embarking on his second tour of duty. According to reports, he will become Idaho's next coach, the second time he has held the Vandal job. He would replace Nick Holt, and we don't know where to begin with Holt. He left Sunday to take a job with the St. Louis Rams. "It's an opportunity I couldn't turn down," Holt said. Well turn it down he did. He is now the new defensive coordinator at USC, the second time he has worked for the Trojans. Cautioned USC coach Pete Carroll, "It's not done until he gets here." And we tend to believe Carroll given Holt's strange week of job jumping.

So What's Up With Grumpy Lloyd Carr?

L-L-L-L-loyd Carr (he now gets an 'L' for each of the Michigan's five losses last season) is feeling the heat after winning only seven games and dropping five in 2005. And on top of that, he injected hope into a wobbling Nebraska program by losing to the Cornhuskers in the Alamo Bowl. So what is a man of Carr's stature to do? You step up like a man and place the blame on your assistants, of course. The Wolverine staff is undergoing a makeover as we speak, and this comes after another alleged haul of blue-chip recruits. (Gee, wouldn't it be fair to the recruits if all this shuffling happened before national signing day so the players would know who their position coach would be?) Secondary coach Ron English is the latest to leave Ann Arbor. He follows offensive coordinator Terry Malone. The next to go might be defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann. But at least Carr got his raise, which is raising quite a ruckus at Firelloydcarr.

Once Again, the Fraud Is Exposed

We normally don't like to call attention to those big corporate websites because that is not what blogging is about. But in our Dragnet-like pursuit of truth and honesty, we couldn't help but notice this gem on CNNSI. It's called recruiting busts, and this is a photo gallery that the snakeoil salesmen of recruiting don't want you to see. Please, don't get suckered in by all these rankings of recruiting classes, because players get hurt, they change positions, they mature, some just want it more ... any number of things happen in a four-to-five year period. And here is another example from the Lansing State Journal of how wrong these rankings can be when the players step on the field.

Reporters' Notebooks

Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: The natives are restless. After eight Wisconsin players were arrested in a 42-day span, some alumni are fed up (registration).

Chad Hartley, Reno Gazette-Journal: Chris Ault, who is a remarkable 177-73-1 in 21 seasons at Nevada, is getting a new contract.

Jon Malavolti, Lansing State Journal: Michigan State quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeir is leaving to take a job with the St. Louis Rams.

Carter Strickland, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia's Mark Richt not only received a nice pay boost, his assistants got one too (registration).

Keith Whitmire, Dallas Morning News: Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is defending his decision to offer a scholarship to a player who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault in an incident involving a 15-year-old girl (registration).

Lonnie White, Los Angeles Times: UCLA hired Jim Colletto as offensive line assistant and promoted Jim Svoboda to offensive coordinator.