Archive for April, 2009

Five ACC assistants who will make a difference


Yesterday we looked at five new SEC assistant coaches who will make a difference in 2009. Today we will pick five new assistants who will shake things up in the ACC this fall. In all cases these coaches were brought in to address a specific weakness on the team.

 Pay attention Georgia Tech fans because your team will go against three of these coaches in 2009 (Clemson, Miami, Virginia) and could face another one if the Yellow Jackets reach the ACC championship game.


Mark Whipple, offensive coordinator, Miami: Whipple, 51, has been successful at every stop. He’s been a head coach at three different schools (UMass, Brown, and New Haven). He won a Division I-AA national championship at UMass in 1998, beating Paul Johnson’s Georgia Southern team. He’s worked with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in the NFL. His teams at every level have always been able to move the ball.

Head coach Randy Shannon had grown impatient with offensive coordinator Patrick Nix, who he felt lacked the …

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Five SEC assistants who will make a difference

Everybody has finished spring practice and next week we will break down every team in the SEC and ACC as they head into the offseason.

I’ve always felt that one of the major benefits of spring practice is to get players adjusted to new assistant coaches and their ways of doing things. You can literally change the culture on one side of the ball with the right or wrong hire.

Here are five new SEC assistant coaches I believe will have the greatest impact come fall:


John Chavis, defensive coordinator, LSU:  Given the talent that LSU had last season, it is fair to say that the Tiger defense underachieved. They had a pair of All-SEC defensive ends in Tyson Jackson (the No. 3 pick in the NFL Draft) and Kirsten Pittman, plus an excellent linebacker in Darry Beckwith. What the Tigers didn’t have was defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, who became head coach at Nebraska. Head coach Les Miles thought he could promote from within by naming two loyal assistants—Doug Mallory and Bradley …

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Chick-fil-A Golf is serious business for coaches


Greensboro–Today we are taking a break from the serious side of college football to have a little fun and raise some money for scholarships and charity. I’m at Lake Oconee, near my home town of Union Point, for the annual Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge golf tournament. I’d like you to come along.

It started as modest idea, something that would allow the Chick-fil-A Bowl to thank its supporters and to have some fun.

They would invite head coaches from all over and team them with a famous athlete from their school for a round of competitive golf against a dozen other such teams. Some scholarship money would be at stake to keep it interesting. CBS would record the competition and fill a hole in the programming lineup on Christmas Day.

“When we started we didn’t know what kind of response we would get or how popular the event could be,” said Gary Stokan, president of the bowl. “We just wanted to host something fun for all our partners.”

Today $350,000 in scholarship money will be on …

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NFL still loves the ACC, SEC



Spring practice is officially over. The NFL Draft is officially over. So what did we learn over the weekend?


The NFL still loves the ACC, SEC:  As we told you last Friday, over the past five drafts before Saturday the SEC (191) and the ACC (176) have had more draft picks than any of the nine other Division I-A conferences. In Saturday’s first round the SEC had three of the first six picks, four of the top 12 and five of the top 18.

 ACC had four of the first nine and nine of the first 45, which was more than any other conference.

The SEC had eight first-round selections and the ACC had five. So 13 of the first 32 players chosen in the first round of the draft, over 40 percent, came from those two conferences. The final totals in the draft were, by conference:


Total picks———-37——-33——-32——-28—-28——27


Here is the SEC and ACC breakdown by school.


Atlantic: Boston College 2; Florida State 1; Clemson 4; …

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Who will have best draft, ACC or SEC?


I assume that most of you will be watching the NFL Draft on Saturday. So, as a public service, here are some ACC and SEC Draft notes you can use to impress your friends during the broadcast. Thanks to Mike Finn of the ACC and Charles Bloom of the SEC for passing a lot of this stuff along.

So who is going to have the best draft, the ACC or the SEC? In the past five drafts the ACC has had 176 picks while the SEC has had 191. The ACC has had 31 first round picks (with a staggering 12 in 2006) while the SEC has had 37 first-round selections in those five drafts.

In four of the last five drafts the SEC has had the most picks but the ACC has almost always been a close second. The ACC blew everybody away with 51 total picks in 2006. Over the past five drafts the SEC and ACC are 1-2 in total selections.

Here is a quick look at how the six major conferences have fared in the last five NFL Drafts. After that will be some notes and charts you can use at your draft parties. See you …

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Would a four-team playoff solve BCS problems?


We had a very lively discussion yesterday about the BCS and the possibility of going to a four-team or eight-team playoff when the current contract expires after the 2013 regular season. It made me think of some research that I did about a year ago, showing that a four-team playoff would have addressed many of the major controversies that have plagued the BCS since its inception in 1998.

I’ve updated some stuff, but here are what the national championship semifinals would have been for the past 11 years using the BCS formula.

Here is your homework assignment for today. Based on these semifinals, which team would have emerged as the national champion? And which semifinals do you really like?

Example: In 2008 Florida and Alabama, who played one of the best SEC championship games ever, could have won their semifinals and met again for the BCS title. Does Florida win the rematch?

Just look over this list and give me your winners or any thoughts you have about the semifinals and …

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BCS to eight-team playoff pitch: We’ll get back to you



Every April the major players that make up the Bowl Championship Series meet in the city that will host their next national championship game. The commissioners of the 11 Division I-A conferences (plus the Notre Dame athletics director), representatives of the four participating bowls (Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, Rose), and the television partners (FOX, ABC, ESPN) hold a series of meetings to determine how the BCS is doing and what, if any changes, need to be considered for the future.

While I didn’t make it to Pasadena for this year’s meetings, which started yesterday, I’ve been to most of them. So I pretty much know how it went on Tuesday when Commissioner Craig Thompson of the Mountain West Conference made his proposal for an eight-team playoff.

At the behest of his presidents, Thompson has been pushing the issue since Utah went 12-0 last season but was not selected to play in the BCS championship game. Oklahoma and Florida, each of whom had a loss, were selected. Thompson …

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What’s missing at Georgia? Absolutely nothing



The question was a sincere one from a young reporter who really wanted to know:

What’s missing at Georgia?

His point: The SEC has won four national championships since Mark Richt got to Georgia in 2001. None of them belonged to the Bulldogs. Florida has won two of the last three BCS titles. LSU won national championships in 2003 and 2007 and has won three SEC championships in the past eight years. Georgia was ranked No. 1 prior to the 2008 season and finished with a “disappointing” 10-3 record.

So he wanted to know what those programs have that Georgia doesn’t have.

I didn’t agree with the premise of the question but I wanted to give him an answer backed up with some facts. So I crunched a few numbers and came up with this answer: There is nothing missing at Georgia that a little perspective, and maybe an All-SEC defensive end or two, wouldn’t cure.

I do a weekly radio show out of Nashville (104.5 The Zone) and last Wednesday a caller asked me if Richt would be in trouble …

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Note to UGA fans: Don’t forget about Arkansas



We had eight spring games in the SEC over the weekend. What did we learn?


Note to UGA fans: Don’t forget about Arkansas. Georgia goes to Fayetteville on Sept. 19. The Bulldogs would be wise not to lose focus on that trip.

It looks like the Hogs have found their quarterback in Ryan Mallett, the transfer from Michigan. Mallett completed 15 of 26 passes for 233 yards (2 TD, 2 INT) in the spring a game.

“Our ability to throw the ball down the field will be much better,” coach Bobby Petrino said.

Here is the other important change at Arkansas. Petrino has gone out and found reinforcements for running back Michael Smith, a small back (5-7, 173) who wore down with 207 carries last season. Arkansas recruited two big running backs who might be able to help. Knile Davis (6-1, 209) graduated from high school early and went through spring ball. Green (6-2, 240), a transfer from Southern Cal, is still waiting on an NCAA waiver that would make him eligible this fall. D’Anthony …

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Five burning questions on a big spring weekend



Eight of the 12 SEC schools (Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Tennessee) will have their spring games on Saturday. Here are five questions that may or may not get answered but inquiring minds want to know:


1. What will LSU do with Russell Shepard? The Houston native, who was considered to be the nation’s No. 1 high school quarterback in 2008, enrolled in school early and took part in spring practice. When the spring began Shepard did a number of things on offense. But during a conference call on Thursday LSU coach Les Miles said that Shepard will only play quarterback during the spring game.

“We’re looking to do what we can with Russell but for now keeping him at quarterback is probably the best,” Miles said.

Rising sophomore Jordan Jefferson, who came on late in his freshman year, is expected to be the starting quarterback when LSU opens the 2009 season at Washington on Sept. 5. Jarrett Lee, who started eight games last season …

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