Archive for March, 2010

Fisher has a plan to bring Florida State back

 

Tallahassee, Fla.—For the first time in my professional life I walked into the office of the Florida State head coach and somebody other than Bobby Bowden was sitting behind the desk. Despite my personal admiration for Bowden and my disappointment at the way he was pushed out the door after 34 seasons, I have to admit that Jimbo Fisher looked comfortable and in charge of the Florida State program.

“A lot of people have asked me if it feels different sitting in this chair,” said Fisher, who was elevated to head coach after serving as head-coach-in-waiting to Bowden for three seasons. “I’m sure it will be different from time to time when some of these administrative things pop up. I don’t mean this is an arrogant way but I don’t feel overwhelmed. It’s not something I can’t do. I feel like I know where I want to go.”

There is evidence of Fisher’s vision in the office. To the left of Fisher’s desk are about 30 footballs and other stuff (hats, etc.) that needs to be signed. To …

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Who will be the “difference makers” for Georgia Tech?

 

A couple of schools (Duke, Miami) around the ACC Coastal completed spring practice last Saturday but still a lot of questions remain as April approaches. As it turns out there are a lot of quarterback issues on this side of the league. We’ll deal with those today in our Five Burning Questions about the ACC Coastal.

But first I want to discuss Georgia Tech, the defending ACC champions, and ask this:

 

1. Who will step up and be the “difference makers” for Georgia Tech? Obviously Georgia Tech has to find a backup quarterback this spring. Starter Josh Nesbitt is sitting out practice because of a bad ankle and, quite frankly, Paul Johnson knows what Nesbitt can do.  Nesbitt is going to get banged up running this offense. That is a given. And Jaybo Shaw has transferred. So everybody knows Johnson has to find another quarterback he can trust not to turn the ball over if Nesbitt has to come out.

But the question that keeps coming back to me as Georgia Tech begins spring practice …

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Five burning questions about the ACC Atlantic

 We spent last week’s first leg of our annual Spring Football Tour in the SEC. This week we’ll spend some time looking at the ACC. I was at Florida State on Friday. Today I’ll be in Clemson and will then spend Tuesday visiting with Georgia Tech.

Let’s kick things off with Five Burning Questions about the ACC’s Atlantic Division as spring ball gets into full swing. As always, please feel free to share some questions (and answers) of your own.

 

1. Will Kyle Parker be Clemson’s starting quarterback when the 2010 season begins? There is no question that Clemson will miss running back C.J. Spiller who, for my money, was the most dynamic player in college football last season.  But with Jamie Harper (418 rushing) and Andre Ellington (491 rushing) returning, the Tigers should be fine at running back. The real question is whether or not Kyle Parker, a rising redshirt sophomore in football, will be back, after throwing for 2,256 yards and 20 touchdowns and leading Clemson to the ACC …

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2010 looks like a tough year at Tennessee

 Knoxville—On January 11 Tennessee tight end Luke Stocker decided that he would stay in school and not enter the NFL Draft.

“I thought it would do me a lot of good to play one more year under coach (Lane) Kiffin,” said the 6-6, 240-pound native of Berea, Ky.

The next day Stocker and the rest of the Tennessee players got a big slap in the face. Kiffin, after just one season, was bolting for USC.

“My mother saw it on TV and she called,” Stocker said. “She was so upset that she was almost crying. I had to calm her down. It was a tough day. A very, very tough day.”

College football players like stability. When they go to a place like Tennessee they certainly expect it. Under the worst of circumstances, they expect no more than one change at head coach in their 3-5 years on campus.

But two changes in two years? From Phillip Fulmer (the definition of stability), to Lane Kiffin (the definition of instability) to Derek Dooley (a stable but unknown quantity at this level) in the space …

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Meyer wrong–again–in confrontation with reporter

 Today’s column was supposed to be about my visit to Gainesville, Fla., on Monday and Tuesday. The topic was going to be the Florida players discussing how disappointing the 13-1 season of 2009 was because of the constant pressure of trying to maintain the No. 1 preseason ranking. I sat down with three Florida players—Ahmad Black, Mike Pouncey, and John Brantley. To a man they agreed that given the lowered expectations and pressure, the 2010 season was going to be a little more relaxed and more fun. 

 

Little did I know that on Wednesday, the day I left, head coach Urban Meyer would REALLY make things fun.

 

 By now I’m sure you’ve read the story and seen the video of Meyer, who has limited his contact with the press this spring, confronting an Orlando Sentinel reporter at practice. When I was at practice on Monday Meyer did not speak to the press after it was over, which is fine. Other players and coaches were made available. But on Wednesday Meyer walked right up to Jeremy …

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Five ???? Questions about the SEC West

 

A gentle reader suggested yesterday that I quit using the term “Five Burning Questions” to describe this exercise because so many others had used it to the point of rendering it ineffective.

 

I always thought the term conveyed that there was a high degree of interest in these issues. Yes, others have used it, but they are smart people like Andy Staples of SI.com so I’m in good company there. And if the words communicate what you’re trying to say as a writer, then you use them.

 

Still, I’m open to new ideas. So today I want to raise five questions that interest me (and hopefully interest you) as we resume our look at spring football. We are covering the SEC this week and will do the ACC next week. You may choose from the following titles or add your own (but keep it clean):

 

Five incredibily compelling questions.

Five Life and Death Questions.

Five moderately interesting questions.

Five questions in which I have absolutely no interest because I am not a fan of the SEC.

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Five Burning Questions about the SEC East

  Gainesville, Fla.–I spent yesterday at Florida’s practice and will spend today at the football offices meeting with players and coaches. I will file a report on the Gators later this week. But first, let’s look at Five Burning Questions about the SEC East as Spring practice gets into full gear. (Note to my ACC friends: I’m finishing the week with Jimbo Fisher at Florida State and will preview the ACC early next week).

 

1. Who is going to make the plays for the Florida offense? Based on what I saw at practice on Monday, there are going to be a lot of guys making plays. Yes, Tim Tebow is gone but I saw a lot of speed and a lot of talent. After waiting his turn, John Brantley takes over at quarterback with an NFL arm. This kid is good and he’s going to have a bunch of weapons at his disposal. Chris Rainey is moving to the Percy Harvin position and will have a big year. The list of receivers goes on and on: Carl Moore, Deonte Thompson, and Andre Dubose (didn’t practice Monday) …

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It’s good to be back! Let’s get caught up

 

 

It is good to be back! I’ve missed our daily visits and a lot has happened since we were together in January. So let’s spend today catching up and tomorrow I’ll jump into spring ball.

So what have I missed?

**–The “other” Dooley takes over in Knoxville:  Last January I was getting ready to board a plane to Europe when my cell phone all but exploded.  Lane Kiffin had just bolted Rocky Top to take the job at USC. After a tough coaching search where several people, including Duke’s David Cutcliffe, said no, Derek Dooley, the head coach and athletics director at Louisiana Tech and the son of Georgia’s Hall of Fame coach, was hired to clean up the mess.

The younger Dooley, a law school graduate, will bring a more organized and businesslike approach to the job. There won’t be photos of Southern California players hung on the walls of the Tennessee football complex, which is what the other guy wanted to do.

I just got back from Knoxville as part of my spring football tour which …

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Mr. CFB will be back on Monday

Friends,

I am happy to report that the Mr. College Football blog will return on Monday, March 22. I’ve missed our daily visits .  I’m starting my spring football tour tomorrow with a visit with new Tennessee coach Derek Dooley. It is going to be an interesting spring with a lot of questions that need to be answered.

Look forward to visiting with you on Monday.

TB

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