Articles By David Fox

All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/nfl-draft-first-round-shutout-great-news-ohio-state

Perhaps no one was more happy not to hear his team called on Thursday than Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.


Presumably, Meyer would have been pleased to hear an NFL team take his wide receiver Devin Smith in the first round, but whether Ohio State produced one first-round pick or none Meyer, that's a good thing.


For the first time since 2003 — the last time Ohio State won a national championship — the reigning national champion did not produce a first-round draft pick the following April. Since the start of the BCS era in 1998, Oklahoma in 2000 is the only other team that did not produce a first-round pick immediately after winning a national title.


Meyer won’t have the draft day brag sheet to take on the recruiting trail, or at least not one as impressive as past national champions. Not that it really matters.


Most of the draft picks from the 2014 national championship team will be playing for Ohio State in 2015.


This isn’t major news for anyone who has been paying close attention to Ohio State. The Buckeyes have all three quarterbacks in tow, including their top pro prospect at the position Cardale Jones. Defensive end Joey Bosa appears to be on pace for a first-round pick. Ezekiel Elliott may or may not continue Thursday’s run on first-round running backs, but he’ll be in the draft eventually. 


Linebackers Joshua Perry and Darron Lee are back. So is end-turned-tackle Adolphus Washington.


Even if Smith, defensive tackle Michael Bennett and cornerback Doran Grant are selected this weekend, the Buckeyes will have to wait until 2016 for their big draft celebration. 


That’s not totally uncommon for national championship teams. Since 1998, four reigning national champions produced four or fewer draft picks the following year — 2010 Auburn, 2008 Florida, 2003 USC and 2000 Oklahoma. The USC team went on to repeat in 2004. Florida started 13-0 in 2009 before losing to eventual national champion Alabama in the SEC title game. Only 2011 Auburn finished unranked.


Here’s a look at the national champions since 1998 and how they fared in the NFL Draft after their title season.


YearSchoolFirst RoundTotal PicksFollowing season
20131713-1, No. 5, lost in CFP semifinal
20123911-2, No. 7, lost Sugar Bowl
20113813-1, No. 1, won BCS championship
2010248-5, NR, won Chick-fil-A Bowl
20092710-3, No. 10, won Capital One Bowl
20081313-1, No. 3, won Sugar Bowl
2007178-5, NR, won Chick-fil-A Bowl
2006299-4, No. 13, lost Capital One Bowl
20052610-3, No. 13, won Alamo Bowl
20042512-1, No. 1, lost Rose Bowl*
2003 (BCS)179-3, No. 16, lost Capital One Bowl
2003 (AP)1413-0, No. 1, won BCS championship
20020511-2, No. 4, won Fiesta Bowl
200151112-1, No. 2, lost Fiesta Bowl*
20000211-2, No. 6, won Cotton Bowl
19993711-2, No. 5, lost Orange Bowl*
1998159-3, No. 9, lost Fiesta Bowl

*Lost in national championship game

NFL Draft First-Round Shutout Great News for Ohio State
Post date: Friday, May 1, 2015 - 15:17
All taxonomy terms: Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/danny-shelton-lifts-nfl-commissioner-roger-goodell-draft-day

With both the top two picks, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, watching the NFL Draft from home, viewers had to wait for a memorable interaction between a draftee and commissioner Roger Goodell.


Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton made it worth the wait. The No. 12 pick overall pick of the Cleveland Browns gave Goodell a bear hug and then lifted the commissioner off his feet. 


Watch here:



Danny Shelton Lifts NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Draft Day
Post date: Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 22:18
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/floridas-basketball-program-built-continue-billy-donovan-legacy

College basketball coaching changes are in a weird place in 2016.


Gregg Marshall passed on Alabama to stay at Wichita State. He’ll make more than $3 million to coach the Shockers, he’ll have the institutional support of any major conference team, and he’ll enjoy near-ironclad job security.


Shaka Smart didn’t go to UCLA two years ago; he went to Texas this season. And who knows what kind of college job would have pulled Brad Stevens from Butler if the Boston Celtics never took a chance on the Bulldogs coach.


Florida isn’t Alabama. Nor is it UCLA. Perhaps not until the Gators hire a successor or two for Billy Donovan will we know exactly what Florida is in college basketball for the long haul.


The Gators lost a top-five college coach to the NBA on Thursday. If they didn’t know it before, the Gators will soon learn they aren’t hiring to a top-five job, perhaps not a top-10 job in college basketball.


That’s not exactly a bad place to be, considering that Donovan left Marshall for a job that wasn’t even close to top 10 or top 20 in 1996. There's no better way to say it: Donovan took Florida basketball to unimaginable heights. He took the Gators to their second Final Four in school history and added three more. He won 500 career games before he turned 50 and could be a Hall of Famer.


When Donovan was hired at Florida, the Gators had been to five all-time NCAA Tournaments and one Final Four. He went to 14 tournaments and four Final Fours, winning two titles.


The previous all-time wins leader had 235 victories and was fired amid NCAA sanctions. Donovan finished with 232 wins more than Norm Sloan at Florida and 363 wins more than Lon Kruger, the only other Florida coach to reach the Final Four.


Donovan probably have the court at the O’Connell Center named after him some day, and he built the program to a point where the Gators can chase after the most attractive names on the coaching market if they choose.


The question, though, is how Archie Miller and those of his ilk look at Florida.


They may see Florida as the two-time national champion and a team that has reached the Elite Eight six times in the last 10 seasons. Or as the only SEC program that can consistently challenge Kentucky in the league.


At the same time Florida has been putting up blue blood results, Florida can't claim to be a basketball blue blood like Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, UCLA or Kansas.


First, this isn’t a salary issue. Donovan’s salary kept up with those programs, ranking fifth behind Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari, Rick Pitino and Bill Self.


This isn’t a football school issue, either. The Gators may still be one of only a handful of schools — Ohio State, Texas, Michigan, Michigan State and Louisville — who can claim to be both right now. Beyond basketball, Florida’s non-revenue teams have thrived in the last 20 years.


Even if the institutional support is there, Florida’s ability to stay at the top is in question.


Florida has committed to a $1.2 million upgrade for the basketball weight room (also used by women’s basketball, golf and tennis). Meanwhile, the renovation to the O’Connell Center has been delayed a year.


Although Florida has upgraded its football facility and stadium in the last 15 years, the Gators tend to step into the facilities arms race cautiously. The Gators are the last program in the SEC to begin work on an indoor football facility.


In other words, Florida’s not going to renovate a facility just because its SEC brethren are.


Recruiting may be of greater concern if Florida is going to compete for titles on a yearly basis, especially in a league that has added Bruce Pearl, Rick Barnes and Ben Howland to keep pace with Calipari at Kentucky.


Florida is a good state for talent, but not one where the Gators can set up a base. Of the 20 top-50 prospects in the state of Florida since 2010, Florida has signed four of them.


That said, in-state recruiting in basketball isn’t the same as in football. Too many prospects move around from high school to high school or AAU team to AAU team.


Florida’s never struggled to bring McDonald’s All-Americans to Gainesville under Donovan. The Gators signed 14 in 19 season under Donovan and at a fairly consistent pace from Teddy Dupay, Mike Miller and Brett Nelson through Patric Young, Kenny Boynton and Kasey Hill.


There’s also a reason Donovan so embraced the emerging transfer market at a pace second only to Iowa State. 


Since the class of 2007 — after Florida’s first national championship, mind you — the Gators signed six McDonald’s All-Americans. Kentucky signed 24, Duke and North Carolina signed 18 each. Kansas signed 10. UCLA — a team Florida knocked out of the NCAA Tournament four times under two coaches during this span — signed nine.


Again, Florida shouldn’t be surprised it is hauling in fewer McDonald’s All-Americans than Duke, Kentucky, Kansas or North Carolina. But that much fewer with an established coach with two national titles on his resume?


Even if Florida won big with players who didn’t get the McDonald’s stamp of approval — Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Scottie Wilbekin for starters — those are pretty telling numbers.


Horford and Noah, highly touted recruits, became two-time champions under Donovan. Wilbekin was a three-star who ended up playing in three Elite Eights and a Final Four.


The next coach at Florida will know has quite a legacy to maintain. The question is if he’ll have the tools to do so.

Is Florida's Basketball Program Built to Carry the Billy Donovan Legacy?
Post date: Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 18:27
All taxonomy terms: Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/get-nerdy-these-nfl-helmets-marvel-comics-mascots

Two of the most popular programming in America this week may be the NFL Draft and the premiere of The Avengers: Age of Ultron.


In other words, this is a good time to mash the two worlds together. What if the Avengers were the mascots for the Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans.


We’ve already seen NBA logos re-imagined as football helmets and college football helmets re-designed among other new looks.


Now, designer Justin Kozisek brings us have NFL teams re-imagined with mascots from Marvel Comics. Some of the A-list heroes are there — Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine and The Hulk, but Kozisek also digs deep for Fin Fang Foom, Sentry and Iron Fist.


It’s pretty much a bonanza for the 12-year-old version of ourselves.



MFL Helmets
Designer Re-Imagines NFL Teams with Marvel Comics Helmets
Post date: Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 12:58
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, News
Path: /college-basketball/potential-coaching-candidates-replace-billy-donovan-florida

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley is no stranger to conducting a job search in order to replace a championship coach.


He’s done it with Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer on the football side. And thanks to Billy Donovan’s brief dalliance with the Orlando Magic in 2007, he started the process to replace Donovan once before. Ironically, the likely replacement in ’07 was then-VCU coach Anthony Grant, who returned to the staff as an assistant this season.


Presumably, Donovan’s time with the Oklahoma City Thunder will be longer than his four-day tenure in Orlando, and the Gators will need to hire a new coach.


Here are a few potential candidates who might end up in the mix to replace the best basketball coach in program history.


Archie Miller, Dayton

He’s one of the hottest coaching candidates out there after taking Dayton to the Elite Eight and NCAA round of 32 in the last two seasons. The 2014-15 season was especially impressive as the shorthanded and undersized Flyers finished 13-5 in the Atlantic 10 and defeated Boise State and Providence in the NCAA Tournament. Miller, however, just agreed a contract extension through 2022 at Dayton. Is Miller waiting for a job like Florida or perhaps a bigger target?


Gregg Marshall, Wichita State

Alabama did all it could to woo Marshall from Wichita State, but he resisted. And to Wichita’s credit, the Shockers responded with a contract extension and a raise to a reported $3.3 million a year. Florida is a better situation than Alabama, will that be enough for the coach to both make the move and walk away from a school that did all it could to keep him. Marshall has turned Wichita State into one of the nation's premier programs, leading the Shockers to 30 wins in each of the last three seasons, including a Final Four in 2013 and a 35-1 season in 2013-14. Marshall also led Winthrop to seven NCAA Tournaments in nine seasons.


Chris Mack, Xavier

The last three Xavier coaches went to Wake Forest, Ohio State and Arizona with all enjoying success at the major conference level. Mack is just as capable to flourish at a higher level after three Sweet 16 appearances in six seasons.


Anthony Grant/John Pelphrey, Florida

The Gators are in a bind by making a coaching change in late April and early May. The carousel has slowed (in particular with Shaka Smart now at Texas and Marshall and Miller agreeing to contract extensions). Grant and Pelphrey have both won on the mid-major level at VCU and South Alabama, respectively. But they’re also back at Florida after being fired from SEC head coaching jobs.


Richard Pitino, Minnesota

Donovan did a good job of sending assistants to bigger and better jobs, but few of them would be realistic candidates. Shaka Smart just left VCU for Texas. Anthony Grant and John Pelphrey returned to Donovan’s staff because they were fired at Alabama and Arkansas, respectively. Matt McCall is 33 and was just hired at Chattanooga. That leaves Pitino, who was a Florida assistant for two seasons in between stints working for his father at Louisville. The 32-year-old Pitino is 14-22 in the Big Ten at Minnesota but led an impressive one-year turnaround in his first head coaching gig at FIU.


Mike White, Louisiana Tech

White turned down Tennessee hired Donnie Tyndall last season. The 38-year-old is primed for a move, but no NCAA Tournament appearances despite three Conference USA regular season titles is a bit concerning. The Bulldogs are 44-8 in C-USA the last three seasons, stalling in the league tournament each year.


Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh

The star has dimmed at bit for Dixon during the last four seasons. His program was once one of the biggest overachievers in the Big East, reaching the NCAA Tournament in each of his first seven years. Pitt has missed the Tournament in two of the last four seasons and has won only three Tournament games since the heartbreaking loss to Villanova in the 2009 Elite Eight.


Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa

Jacobson has been at Northern Iowa since 2001 and as head coach since 2006. The entire run includes six NCAA appearances. Jacobson led the Panthers to the Sweet 16 with an upset of No. 1 seed Kansas in 2010, but this year’s squad (31-4) may have been his best team in Cedar Falls.


Steve Prohm, Murray State

In four seasons at Murray State, Prohm has coached a team that went 31-2 in 2011-12 and another that won 25 in a row en route to a 27-5 record in 2014-15. He unearthed point guard Cam Payne out of Memphis two years ago and watched him develop into a pro prospect. He’s an Alabama graduate who was not a factor in the Crimson Tide’s coach search.


Brad Underwood, Stephen F. Austin

The former Frank Martin assistant has been a head coach for only two seasons, but it’s been quite the run. The Lumberjacks are 61-8 in two seasons with two Tournament appearances and two conference titles. His pressure defense has finished in the top 10 in defensive turnover rate in teach of the last two seasons.


Dan Hurley, Rhode Island

Arizona State just hired Hurley’s brother Bobby, but Dan has orchestrated arguably the better programs. He’s never been to the NCAA Tournament but has led dramatic improvement at two spots already. Wagner went 13-17 in his first season and 25-5 in his second. Rhode Island improved from 8-21 in his first year to 23-10 and an NIT appearance in his third.


Larry Krystkowiak, Utah

Krystkowiak led a major rebuilding project at Utah, taking over a shell of a roster and going 6-25 in his first season. The Utes improved their Pac-12 record each season and reached the Sweet 16 in 2015. Krystkowiak also took Montana to the NCAA Tournament twice, leading an upset over fifth-seeded Nevada in 2006. He also has significant experience in the NBA, including more than a year as a head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.


Larry Shyatt, Wyoming

Florida might be in dire straits if the Gators get to Shyatt. It’s not that he’s a bad candidate. He was an assistant on Florida’s two national championship teams and took Wyoming to the NCAA Tournament last season. But he’s also 64 years old with a 70-84 tenure at Clemson on the resume. 

Potential Coaching Candidates to Replace Billy Donovan at Florida
Post date: Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 11:38
All taxonomy terms: Baltimore Orioles, MLB
Path: /mlb/empty-camden-yards-eerie-place-baseball-game

One of the most bizarre games in Baltimore Orioles history was played in front of nobody.


The announced attendance for Wednesday’s game between the Orioles and Chicago White Sox was zero as Camden Yards was closed to the general public due to the ongoing civil unrest in Baltimore.


Though the game was closed to fans, it was open to the broadcast teams and other media members.


The sights and sounds of the game were ranged from humorous to downright eerie. Here’s a quick look:





Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis hit a fourth-inning home run that reverberated through the empty stadium. Inside the stadium, the call from Gary Thorne of MASN could be heard from the booth where WGN's Hawk Harrelson was on the call for the White Sox.




At one point, Thorne was having enough fun to invoke Jim Nantz calling the Masters on this Adam Davis double.









An Empty Camden Yards is an Eerie Place for a Baseball Game
Post date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 16:14
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/penn-state-coach-james-franklin-surprises-walk-scholarship

A football scholarship is no small matter, especially for those who have toiled as walk-ons for years.


Penn State head coach James Franklin surprised junior linebacker Von Walker on Tuesday with a surprise scholarship.


These videos are somewhat common now, but the clip of Walker calling his mom afterward is great. Check out the video:


Penn State Coach James Franklin Surprises Walk On with Scholarship
Post date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 13:07
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/ranking-college-football-teams-nfl-draft-2005

A decade is a long time in college football. Dynasties begin and end. Conferences ebb and flow. National champions are crowned and de-throned.


Even as the SEC as a conference replaced USC as the sport’s dominant figure over the last decade, the Trojans remained the prominent team for the NFL draft through the last 10 years.


The Trojans have churned out more NFL Draft picks in the last 10 cycles than any other team, despite the SEC’s status as the powerhouse conference of the era.


Make no mistake, the SEC is a force on draft day. Alabama has produced more first-round picks than any other team in the last 10 years. Of the top 10 college teams in the NFL from 2005-14, four are from the SEC.


The SEC has sent more total players (466) and first-round picks (93) to the draft that any other league by a wide margin.


But as far as a single school in the last 10 drafts, USC is still on top.


Athlon Sports has looked at each power conference in the NFL Draft in the last 10 seasons. We’ve collected the top 25 teams here.


For a more in-depth look at each team in each power conference, we’ve collected them here:


Big 12

Big Ten




We've also collected the draft numbers for every active coach.


College Football's Top Teams in the NFL Draft



 SchoolTotal PicksFirst Round2004-13 Record
1.681489-27 (.767)
2.6314104-27 (.794)
3.579105-28 (.789)
4.55794-37 (.718)
5.541380-40 (.667)
6.531680-30 (.727)
7.521392-24 (.793)
8.471194-36 (.723)
9.46675-50 (.600)
10.42696-35 (.733)
T11.41999-30 (.739)
T11.41585-44 (.659)
T13.40668-57 (.544)
T13.40578-48 (.619)
T13.40399-35 (.739)
16.39476-50 (.603)
T17.36484-46 (.646)
T17.36484-39 (.682)


36498-30 (.766)
20.35967-58 (.536)
T21.34992-37 (.713)
T21.34748-60 (.444)
T21.34677-49 (.611)
T21.34583-44 (.654)
25.33273-52 (.584)

FBS Conferences in the NFL Draft



ConferenceTotal PicksFirst Round

*in their current lineups

Ranking College Football Teams in the NFL Draft Since 2015
Post date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/ranking-sec-teams-nfl-draft-2005

SEC fans like to brag about conference depth. On that, the NFL can probably agree.


No league has been more prolific in the NFL Draft than the SEC in the last decade. The league has had 466 players selected in the last 10 drafts, 63 more than any other conference.


In 2014, seven SEC teams had a team selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Ten teams have produced at least one-first round pick in the last three drafts.


None of this should come as too much of a surprise. Since 2006, four SEC teams have combined for seven national championships and several others have been national contenders late into the season.


Related: Which College Coach Has Produced the Most NFL Draft Picks?


For fans who are college football-centric, NFL Draft day is a chance for bragging rights and a sort of referendum on the relative talent levels for teams and conferences. Whether that’s fair or not is up for debate.


Here’s how teams in the SEC fared in the last 10 drafts, followed by a few observations.


*Data derived from Pro Football Reference


SEC NFL Draft Picks



 SchoolTotal PicksFirst Round2004-13 Record
1.6314104-27 (.794)
2.55794-37 (.718)
3.531680-30 (.727)
4.471194-36 (.723)
5.35967-58 (.536)
T6.34992-37 (.713)
T6.34583-44 (.654)
8.30468-56 (.548)
9.26474-52 (.587)
10.25685-44 (.659)
11.18257-66 (.463)
T12.16453-69 (.434)
T12.16251-71 (.418)
14.14050-73 (.407)


• LSU’s and Georgia’s place atop the league in the last decade may be a surprise at first glance, given Alabama’s recent dominance and Florida’s run under Urban Meyer. But under further consideration, it makes sense. LSU and Georgia have been arguably the most consistent performers of the time span. Our 2005-14 window contains the tail end of the Mike Shula era at Alabama and most of the Will Muschamp era at Florida.


• Hard to believe, but Alabama was shut out of the 2008 NFL Draft. Since then, the Tide have had 41 players selected overall since the 2009 draft and 15 in the first round alone since the 2010 draft.


• The SEC has produced eight teams with 30 or more draft picks in the last 10 years. By comparison, the ACC has five, the Big 12 has two, the Big Ten has six, the Pac-12 has four.


• The SEC has accounted for four No. 1 overall selections (South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, Auburn’s Cam Newton, Georgia’s Matthew Stafford and LSU’s JaMarcus Russell) in our 10-year window. The current Pac-12 lineup is the only other league to produce more than one (Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Utah’s Alex Smith)


• Yet another sign of the turmoil Tennessee hopes it has left behind. The Volunteers have produced more draft picks than Auburn, South Carolina and Missouri in the last 10 years and so much less to show for it.


• Kentucky is the only SEC team in the last decade without a first-round pick. The Wildcats’ last first-rounder was Dewayne Robertson in 2003.

Ranking SEC Teams in the NFL Draft since 2005
Post date: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/ranking-acc-teams-nfl-draft-2005

In the last three seasons, Florida State has rocketed past the field in the ACC, becoming the league’s only true national title contender the last two seasons.


The Seminoles have also dominated draft day for the league, no easy feat with teams like Miami and Clemson churning out draft picks.


Florida State produced 54 picks in the last 10 NFL Drafts, eight more than any other team in the league.


The Seminoles aren’t doing this cheaply or on legacy. FSU’s 13 first-round draft picks lead league by a wide margin — no other team in the ACC has produced more than seven in the last decade. And of Florida State’s 54 draft picks in the last 10 years, 22 have come in the last three seasons.


Related: Which College Coach Has Produced the Most NFL Draft Picks?


For fans who are college football-centric, NFL Draft day is a chance for bragging rights and a sort of referendum on the relative talent levels for teams and conferences. Whether that’s fair or not is up for debate.


Here’s how teams in the ACC fared in the last 10 drafts, followed by a few observations.


*Data derived from Pro Football Reference


ACC NFL Draft Picks



 SchoolTotal PicksFirst Round2004-13 Record
1.541380-40 (.667)
2.46675-50 (.600)
3.41585-44 (.659)
4.40399-35 (.739)
5.34748-60 (.444)
6.29584-41 (.672)
T7.28555-67 (.451)
T7.28358-65 (.472)
9.24470-55 (.560)
10.21378-53 (.595)
11.20248-74 (.393)
12.19159-64 (.480)
13.17676-52 (.594)
14.2035-86 (.289)


• Since Notre Dame will play four or five ACC teams each season for the next few years, it’s worth noting the Irish produced 40 NFL Draft picks in the last 10 seasons, tied with Virginia Tech.


• For any other school, 46 NFL Draft picks in a decade would be reason to brag. For Miami, 46 NFL Draft picks in a decade is subpar. The Hurricanes haven’t had a first-round pick since Kenny Phillips in 2008, shocking for a team that produced 33 first-rounders and at least one per year from 1995-2008.


• Duke has the longest first-round drought in the ACC, dating back to linebacker Mike Junkin in 1987. Duke is followed by NC State (which had three first-rounders in the 2006 draft) and Miami (2008).


• Let’s take another minute to praise the job Duke’s David Cutcliffe has done. Duke has two NFL Draft picks in the last 10 years and the Blue Devils have still gone 11-5 in the league the last two years. After Duke’s two selections in the last two years, the next fewest Power 5 team is Kansas with nine.


• Boston College has produced more first-round picks that Clemson or Virginia Tech in the last decade. Who knew?


• Louisville fits right in. The Cardinals produced 29 draft picks and five first-rounders, putting them in the top half of the league despite recruiting for most of that time to the Big East and American.

Ranking ACC Teams in the NFL Draft since 2005
Post date: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/ranking-pac-12-teams-nfl-draft-2005

As far as the NFL Draft goes, the Pac-12 is still USC’s league to rule.


Even as Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State have elevated their level of play in recent seasons, USC still casts a shadow on the rest of the conference in the NFL Draft.


True, most of USC’s draft picks in the last 10 years came from the Pete Carroll era. But USC has produced 28 more draft picks than any other team in the league over the last 10 drafts, a sign of the Trojans’ dominance and a sign that the program is still churning out pros despite NCAA sanctions.


That total will grow in this season’s draft with Leonard Williams a projected high first-round pick. When he’s selected, he will be — shockingly — USC’s first first-round pick since 2012.


Related: Which College Coach Has Produced the Most NFL Draft Picks?


For fans who are college football-centric, NFL Draft day is a chance for bragging rights and a sort of referendum on the relative talent levels for teams and conferences. Whether that’s fair or not is up for debate.


Here’s how teams in the Pac-12 fared in the last 10 drafts, followed by a few observations.


*Data derived from Pro Football Reference


Pac-12 NFL Draft Picks



 SchoolTotal PicksFirst Round2004-13 Record
1.681489-27 (.767)
2.40668-57 (.544)
3.36498-30 (.765)
4.33273-52 (.584)
5.26369-59 (.539)
6.25172-54 (.571)
T7.24287-39 (.690)
T7.24072-54 (.571)
9.23160-63 (.487)
10.18244-80 (.355)
11.14247-76 (.382)
12.11138-82 (.317)


• USC has produced 14 first-round picks in the last 10 years. The rest of the Pac-12 South has produced eight.


• Oregon’s 36 draft picks over the last decade are a surprising total for a team that has played for two national titles in the last four seasons. The Ducks have the same amount of draft picks during the last 10 seasons as Nebraska and Penn State and fewer than Iowa, Clemson and Virginia Tech. Since 2008, Oregon has produced only two first-round picks, both in the same draft (Dion Jordan and Kyle Long in 2013).


• Not only are Oregon, Stanford and UCLA chasing USC in the draft, they’re chasing Cal. Under Jeff Tedford, the Bears produced 44 NFL Draft picks (only 38 of those are counted here). Cal went 9-18 in the Pac-12 in his final three seasons and sent 14 players to the draft after those three seasons. That’s part of the reason Sonny Dykes is coaching in Berkeley now.


• Stanford has produced 20 draft picks in the last four drafts, compared to 13 in the six drafts prior.


• Here’s a shocker: Arizona State has been shut out of the first round since Terrell Suggs in 2003.

Ranking Pac-12 Teams in the NFL Draft since 2005
Post date: Monday, April 27, 2015 - 13:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big Ten, News
Path: /college-football/ranking-big-ten-teams-nfl-draft-2005

If the national championship and potential preseason No. 1 ranking weren’t enough of a sign, Ohio State football is back on draft day, too.


Hard to believe, but the Buckeyes produced only one first-round pick (defensive end Cameron Heyward, selected 31st in 2011) in the draft between 2010 and 2013.


The Buckeyes had two first-round picks last season, the first time they had multiple first rounders since 2009. This year’s draft might not add too much to Ohio State’s first-round tally, but the wave is coming in 2016.


The question is how the rest of the Big Ten will be able to keep up.


Related: Which College Coach Has Produced the Most NFL Draft Picks?


For fans who are college football-centric, NFL Draft day is a chance for bragging rights and a sort of referendum on the relative talent levels for teams and conferences. Whether that’s fair or not is up for debate.


Here’s how teams in the Big Ten fared in the last 10 drafts, followed by a few observations.


*Data derived from Pro Football Reference


Big Ten NFL Draft Picks



 SchoolTotal PicksFirst Round2004-13 Record
1.521392-24 (.793)
2.42696-35 (.733)
3.39476-50 (.603)
T4.36484-46 (.646)
T4.36484-39 (.683)
6.34677-49 (.611)
7.27178-50 (.609)
8.22544-77 (.369)
9.21375-51 (.595)
10.20255-69 (.444)
11.19357-66 (.463)
12.12041-78 (.345)
T13.11154-71 (.432)
T13.11168-57 (.544)


• Another sign that the Big Ten is dominated by Ohio State — the Buckeyes have 10 more draft picks and seven more first-rounders than anyone else in the league the last decade. That’s probably as much a function of Ohio State being Ohio State and traditional powers (Penn State, Michigan, Nebraska) riding a roller coaster in recent years.


• Let’s continue to heap praise on Mark Dantonio at Michigan State. The Spartans won the Big Ten two years ago and played in a major bowl game last season, yet the Spartans have had only one first-round draft pick (cornerback Darqueze Dennard in 2014) under Dantonio.


• No surprise here: Four of Wisconsin’s last five first-round draft picks were offensive linemen (center Travis Frederick, guard Kevin Zeitler and tackles Gabe Carimi and Joe Thomas). The other was defensive end J.J. Watt.


• More fodder for Kirk Ferentz detractors: Iowa trails only Ohio State and Wisconsin in draft picks in the last decade. Outright Big Ten titles in that draft time frame: Ohio State (four), Wisconsin (two), Iowa (none).


• The floor in this league is actually pretty good. Minnesota and Northwestern have produced only 11 draft picks each in the last decade, but the Gophers and Wildcats have played in 13 combined bowl games for those draft classes. 


• Indiana is the only team in the Big Ten without a first-round pick in the last 10 drafts. The Hoosiers’ last first-rounder was wide receiver Thomas Lewis in 1994.

Ranking Big Ten Teams in the NFL Draft since 2005
Post date: Monday, April 27, 2015 - 12:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big 12, News
Path: /college-football/ranking-big-12-teams-nfl-draft-2005

If it seems the Big 12 is having a bit of an identity crises, that much is true in the NFL Draft, too.


Oklahoma and Texas are the powerhouses in the draft in the last decade. The Sooners and Longhorns have combined for 98 picks in the last 10 years. The other eight teams have combined for 135 during that span. 


OU and Texas have combined for nearly has many first-rounders (18) in the last 10 years as the rest of the league combined (19).


Yet Oklahoma and Texas are in trouble spots right now — Bob Stoops is coming off an eight-win season and cleaning house on his coaching staff; Texas is on Year Two of a new coaching staff.


Instead, TCU and Baylor are the top dogs in the league, and their draft day-performance is starting to show it, too.


Related: Which College Coach Has Produced the Most NFL Draft Picks?


For fans who are college football-centric, NFL Draft day is a chance for bragging rights and a sort of referendum on the relative talent levels for teams and conferences. Whether that’s fair or not is up for debate.


Here’s how teams in the Big 12 fared in the last 10 drafts, followed by a few observations.


*Data derived from Pro Football Reference


Big 12 NFL Draft Picks



 SchoolTotal PicksFirst Round2004-13 Record
1.579105-28 (.789)
2.41999-30 (.767)
3.24293-33 (.738)
4.23389-38 (.701)
5.22559-63 (.484)
6.17685-44 (.661)
7.15168-55 (.553)
8.15183-44 (.654)
9.10050-73 (.407)
10.9151-70 (.421)


• From the “that can’t be right” file: Oklahoma State has a mere 17 draft picks in the last 10 years? Maybe Mike Gundy and predecessor Les Miles deserve more credit in Stillwater.


• How about TCU at third in the league in draft picks in the last 10 years? It’s a distant third behind Oklahoma and Texas, but third nonetheless. West Virginia and Baylor are right behind.


• Of Baylor’s 22 draft picks in the last decade, 15 have come in since 2011, including four of the Bears’ five first-rounders.


• Kansas State’s more-with-less stereotype holds weight here. Kansas State’s first-round pick in the last 10 years wasn’t even recruited by Bill Snyder. No. 17 overall pick Josh Freeman played his entire college career for Ron Prince. Snyder’s last first-round pick was cornerback Terence Newman in 2003.


• Iowa State hasn’t had a first-round draft pick since running back George Amundson in 1973, the longest drought for a Power 5 conference team by 14 years.

Ranking the Big 12 Teams in the NFL Draft Since 2005
Post date: Monday, April 27, 2015 - 11:30
Path: /college-football/former-fullback-kalani-sitake-defensive-coach-rise

One of football’s up-and-coming defensive coordinators got his start in the one of the most unlikely places — playing fullback for a school that was ground zero of the modern spread offense.


Kalani Sitake has been a defensive assistant in major college football for merely a decade, but he’s already one of the most intriguing names in the coaching ranks.


When the time came for the BYU fullback to enter the workforce in 2001, Sitake knew what he wanted to do, just not all the details.


“I just wanted to coach ball,” Sitake said. “I didn’t care where it was or what position.”


His first job was as a secondary and special teams coach at a junior college, not exactly the most logical landing spot for a guy who played offense under LaVell Edwards.


The gig lasted a year before he returned to BYU as a graduate assistant working with linebackers. During the first four years of his career at three stops, Sitake had coached defensive backs, linebackers, running backs, offensive line and tight ends.


That meant a ton of film study and a ton of phone calls to figure out the intricacies of each position.


“I’m kind of a football nerd where I try to watch as much film as I can on different schemes and different philosophies,” Sitake said. “I take a huge interest in learning as much as I can.


“When all your friends are football coaches, you just talk ball. Let’s say you’ve got a new position, it wouldn’t be hard to find a half a dozen guys who are willing to open up and share ideas.”


One of those would be Gary Andersen, who hired Sitake as running backs coach when Andersen was head coach at Southern Utah.


When head coach Kyle Whittingham and coordinator Andersen filled out their defensive staff at Utah following the departure of Urban Meyer to Florida in 2005, Andersen added Sitake as linebackers coach.


As Andersen left for his own head coaching job, Sitake had become one of the key figures in Utah’s transition from a Mountain West power to a solid Pac-12 program. Despite the step up in week-to-week competition, Utah had an above-average defense all four seasons in the Pac-12 under Sitake. 


The Utes led the Pac-12 in fewest yards per play in 2011, their first year in the league. They’ve led the league in sacks per game each of the last two seasons. They’ve ranked in the top three in the Pac-12 in fewest yards per carry in each of the last four seasons. Moreover, Sitake was the leader of many of Utah’s critical recruiting efforts.


He’d done enough to enjoy job security at Utah or eventually take a more high-profile coordinator position.


Instead, Sitake rejoined Andersen at Oregon State as defense coordinator. A lateral move was puzzling, particularly since Sitake left an $800,000 per year contract (including bonuses) on the table with Utah. Utes defensive line coach Ilaisa Tuiaki also left for Oregon State.


The move was considered to be indicative of a rift between Whittingham and his athletic director.


Sitake bristles at the episode and the attention he’s received, in part, because of the move to Oregon State.


“Coaching isn’t rocket science,” Sitake said. “There are people that try to sit there and try to blow up their contribution to it. I’m nothing. I’m really nothing. I’ve been lucky to have great people around me and really good players.”


But there’s also good reason why Andersen hired Sitake — for a third time, mind you.


Andersen has called him “a great technician,” and his defenses have been praised for the fundamentals — rarely being out of position and tackling soundly. 


This may make sense given his background, but Sitake often takes his defensive cues from effective offense.


Sitake refers to “identity” for his defense the same way he speaks of identity for Edwards’ offense at BYU.


Today’s up-tempo offenses aren’t as complex as traditional pro-style offenses. Sitake wants his defense to be just as focused on execution, not complexity.


“It’s simple but it has a few variables where it could be perceived as difficult,” Sitake said. “There’s a saying that if you keep it simple, it will be clean football. You look at all this fast-tempo offense, there’s not a lot to it. It’s just simple but executed really well.”


At the same time, Sitake spends time teaching offensive concepts to his defensive players.


Maybe it’s old habit for the former fullback, but it’s also part of the grand plan.


“We spend a lot of time on defense teaching what the offense is trying to do,” Sitake said. “I really believe that if you teach them the other side of the ball, you’re not memorizing, you’re understanding.”


Photo courtesy of Karl Maasdam.

Former Fullback Kalani Sitake is a Defensive Coach on the Rise
Post date: Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/jameis-winston-explains-crab-leg-hook-befuddled-jim-harbaugh

The NFL Draft interview process is going to be interesting for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, who is a contender for the No. 1 spot.


Among other off-field concerns Winston will need to address is the incident when he was cited for the theft of crab legs from a Tallahassee, Fla., Publix.


In a conversation with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch aired on ESPN’s Draft Academy, Winston attempted to explain his side.


This may not have helped.


Harbaugh, the former coach of the San Francisco 49ers, advised Winston to keep his response short and sweet — “I did something wrong, I’m sorry, and I learned.”


Winston, though, wanted to explain that the crab legs weren’t stolen; they were a hook up.


Here’s the video, the transcript and some editorial notes.



Fisch: I know there’s a story with the snow crabs or stone crabs or whatever it might have been, but you left it out when Coach asked you if you had any issues. I wouldn’t leave it out.


(ed. note: Stone crab is a Miami Beach fine dining staple and essentially localized to the famous Joe’s Stone Crab. Fisch did some good eating while offensive coordinator at Miami.)


Winston: Oh. Oh, man. Yeah.


Harbaugh: Stone crabs? (ed. note: Is this the first time Harbaugh has heard of this? That reaction says yes.)



Fisch: Whatever the whole theft thing was at Publix or whatever it might have been. I don’t know the whole — I just know it happened. That’s the elephant on the room for you. Everyone’s going to want to know what happened.


(ed. note: The crab legs are not the elephant in the room.)


Winston: OK.


Fisch: Don’t by accident just talk about the BB gun and your high school coach crying and forget about the fact that everyone on SportsCenter read about that incident because then it looks like you’re covering it up or you're hiding it.


(ed. note: Fisch mimics the ESPN crawl.)



Harbaugh: If you don’t want to go into it — “I screwed up. I f---ed up. Learned from it.” Be as serious as a heart attack.


Winston: How am I supposed to handle, like, if I just got them for free. Just say I messed up?


Harbaugh: If someone gave them to you for free? So what happened. Explain that to me. You got them for free? Explain that to me.


(ed. note: Harbaugh leans in as if he's the coach of the team potentially drafting Winston.)



Winston: A week before was my buddy’s birthday, and we got a cake and we met a dude inside Publix and he said anytime you come in here I got you. That day we just walked out. He hooked us up with that. When I got crab legs, I did the same thing. He just gave them to me and I walked out. Someone for inside the store had told the security that I didn’t pay for them, and that’s how the whole thing started.


Harbaugh: OK. Then, put that in a nice... Keep that in a tidy box. “I got some crab legs and people at the store reported that I didn’t pay for them. And they were right. I didn’t pay for them, and I f---ed up. I shouldn’t have been taking anything for free. I’ve learned.”

Jameis Winston Explains Crab Leg "Hook Up" To Befuddled Jim Harbaugh
Post date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 11:12
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/which-college-coaches-have-produced-most-nfl-draft-picks

This is a big year for Steve Spurrier. Not only does the Head Ball Coach turn 70, he’ll also see his 100th player picked in the NFL Draft.


During his time as a head coach at South Carolina, Florida and Duke, Spurrier has coached 99 players who were selected in the following NFL Draft, the most among active coaches.


Many outlets will count how many NFL Draft picks a particular school or conference can call their own, but we haven’t seen the tally yet for head coaches.


This, hopefully, will remedy that. Using Pro Football Reference as a resource, we charted every draft pick for active coaches in FBS.


The data wasn’t totally surprising — coaches who have been around for a while have churned out the most draft picks. Frank Beamer has coached long enough to watch multiple players of his drafted in the 12th round.


A few disclaimers:


• This exercise is looking merely at head coaches, mainly because it’s the most interesting and most easily quantifiable look. Coordinators and position coaches play as much of a role for these future pros as head coaches, if not more. At the same time, some of these guys would be drafted if they were coached by Vince Lombardi or Vince Gill.


• This is an inexact science. We assigned players to their most recent coach before the draft. For example, Urban Meyer coached Ohio State’s draft classes since 2013 and Florida’s NFL draft classes from 2006 to 2011 (he coached at Florida from 2005-10). In other words, a draftee may have played his first three seasons for Coach A and his senior season for Coach B. In that case, the tally goes to Coach B.


And on to the charts:


Total NFL Draft Picks, By Coach


 CoachTotal PicksPicks at Current School
1.Steve Spurrier, South Carolina9931
2.Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech9290
3.Nick Saban, Alabama8241
4.Mark Richt, Georgia7474
5.Bob Stoops, Oklahoma7070
6.Les Miles, LSU6760
7.Kirk Ferentz, Iowa5555
8.Bill Snyder, Kansas State507*
9.Larry Coker, UTSA470
10.Urban Meyer, Ohio State449
11.Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati400
T12.Brian Kelly, Notre Dame3619
T12.Frank Solich, Ohio366
14.Gary Patterson, TCU3434
T15.Mike Riley, Nebraska320
T15.Dennis Franchione, Texas State320*
17.Gary Pinkel, Missouri3127
T18.George O'Leary, UCF2914
T18.Bret Bielema, Arkansas294
20.Dabo Swinney, Clemson2828

*in his current stint with this team


Total First-Round Picks, By Coach


 CoachTotal PicksPicks at Current School
1.Nick Saban, Alabama2116
2.Larry Coker, UTSA200
3.Steve Spurrier, South Carolina174
4.Les Miles, LSU1513
5.Bob Stoops, Oklahoma1313
T6.Mark Richt, Georgia1111
T6.Urban Meyer, Ohio State112
8.Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech88
T9.Gary Pinkel, Missouri76
T9.Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati70


Draft Picks for Recently Retired/Inactive Coaches


CoachTotal Picks
Joe Paterno251
Bobby Bowden182
Mack Brown101
Phillip Fulmer92
Dennis Erickson%74
Jim Tressel69
Lloyd Carr62
Pete Carroll60
Mike Bellotti46
Butch Davis45

%still active as a position coach in college

Which College Coaches Have Produced the Most NFL Draft Picks?
Post date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: MLB, News
Path: /mlb/reds-manager-bryan-price-delivers-profane-rant-ages

Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price secured a spot among great managerial rants in baseball history with an expletive-filled tirade with reporters after Monday’s 6-1 win over the Brewers.


Responding to a question from C. Trent Rosencrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer on the status of All-Star catcher Devin Mesoraco, Price lit into accurate reports about roster moves concerning his team.


The final tally was 77 “F” words and 11 “S” words. Quite impressive for a rant after game No. 13 of a 162-game season.


Reds Manager Bryan Price Delivers Profane Rant for the Ages
Post date: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 09:19
All taxonomy terms: Philadelphia Eagles, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/tim-tebow-gets-another-chance-signs-philadelphia-eagles

Tim Tebow will receive at least one more shot at an NFL career after signing a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.


The 2007 Heisman winner and two-time national champion at Florida participated in an offseason workout for Philadelphia on Monday.


The signing of Tebow, who hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2012, is the latest in a number of high-profile unorthodox moves by Eagles coach Chip Kelly.


Tebow was a first-round NFL draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 2010 and went 7-4 as a starter in 2011, leading the Broncos to a playoff win in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers.


The Broncos traded Tebow to the New York Jets in 2012 where he played sparingly. He signed with the Patriots in 2013 but did not make the regular season roster.


Tebow is 8-6 as a starter in his career and has completed 47.9 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions, all with Denver.


Since he was cut by the Patriots, Tebow had been an analyst for the SEC Network.



Tim Tebow Gets Another Chance, Signs with Philadelphia Eagles
Post date: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 16:40
Path: /college-football/ohio-state-takes-no-1-spot-spring-game-attendance-record

Some day a college football program is going to hit six figures in attendance — for a spring game.


Ohio State came 609 fans short of the 100,000 mark Saturday when it drew what is presumed to be a record for spring game attendance.


The Buckeyes counted 99,391 fans to their spring scrimmage Saturday, and just think what it would have been had quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and/or Braxton Miller played. Would that might have been good for an extra 400 fans?


Spring game attendance is a tricky thing: Not every school tracks it. Tickets are often free. Many schools provide merely estimates.


That said, in recent years, several schools have provided attendance figures, so it’s worth looking at which schools had the biggest spring crowds.


Ohio State has the top two, but Alabama has six of the top 11 on record.


For this list, we used figures from for crowds through 2013, for 2014 and Kevin McGuire of for 2015 so far.


Top Spring Game Attendance Figures Since 2007


1.201599,391Defending national champion
4.200792,138First season under Nick Saban
5.201091,312Defending national champion
7.201383,401First season under Gus Malzahn
8.201281,112First season under Urban Meyer
9.200880,149First season under Bo Pelini
10.201378,315Defending national champion
11.201278,315Defending national champion
12.201576,881First season under Mike Riley
15.201472,000First season under James Franklin
20.200965,000Defending national champion
24.201560,000First season under Jim Harbuagh


Ohio State Takes No. 1 Spot for Spring Game Attendance Record
Post date: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 13:48
Path: /college-football/texas-tech-needs-david-gibbs-reverse-defensive-woes

Spring practice for the Texas Tech defense may as well be spring training for a high school baseball team.


Always watching, new defensive coordinator David Gibbs is telling his players to keep their eye on the ball. Or more specifically the quarterback and when and where the ball is going.


A defender might break up a pass or get a takeaway, but if his eyes aren’t where Gibbs wants them to be, he’ll hear it.


“If your eyes aren’t in the right spot as you go through a progression, even if you make a play, he won’t be happy because it isn’t the way he teaches it,” safety J.J. Gaines said.


Texas Tech’s defense needs more than just eyes on the ball. The Red Raiders need their hands on the ball.


That’s why Gibbs is here. Texas Tech had only 15 takeaways last season, 18 the year before and 13 before that. The Red Raiders defense hasn’t had more than 20 takeaways in a season since 2010.


At one point, Texas Tech went 16 consecutive games without a positive turnover margin and 12 consecutive games in the red. Obviously, there’s an offensive component to all this, but in those 16 games, Texas Tech’s defense forced only 18 turnovers. Texas Tech went 5-11 overall and 2-10 in the Big 12 in those 16 games.



Listen to the Cover 2 Podcast: Early 2015 Big 12 Preview

Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher


Meanwhile, on the other side of the state, Houston was racking up turnovers at a near-record pace. The Cougars had twice as many takeaways as Texas Tech in 2014. They’ve had more takeaways in the last two seasons (73) than Texas Tech had in their last four (66).


If for no other reason than the stat sheet, Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury had to give Houston’s defensive coordinator, Gibbs, a look. Whatever approach Gibbs brought to Houston, Texas Tech needs some of that magic touch if the Red Raiders are going to reverse their momentum.


“I don’t have any miracle answers,” Gibbs said. “Just because it worked at Houston doesn’t mean it’s going work here. But I also believe in the system that we’ve put in.”


Perhaps this is basic, but Gibbs is focusing on eye discipline to boost Texas Tech’s dismal turnover numbers. For a team that has the fewest takeaways in the Big 12 in the last three seasons (40), Gibbs has to start with the basics.


“We’re built on more pressure and keeping eyes on the quarterback and when the ball is thrown, where the ball is thrown, it allows you to have more guys breaking on the ball,” Gibbs said. 


The 47-year-old Gibbs is well-traveled. He’s coached defensive backs for three different NFL teams and has been a coordinator at Minnesota and Auburn.


His 2013 season at Houston was something of a breakout. Houston forced 43 turnovers, eight more than any other team in the country that year. The Cougars also averaged nearly a plus-2 turnover margin per game (plus-1.92).


How did Houston thrive on turnovers? Some of it was certainly ability and coaching. The Cougars were also a statistical anomaly.


According to Football Study Hall, teams recover roughly 50 percent of all fumbles and intercept 22 percent of passes defended (interceptions plus pass breakups). 


The 2013 Houston defense recovered 69.3 percent of fumbles and intercepted 31.3 percent of defending passes. Combined with the offense’s good fortune, Houston “nearly broke the system,” Football Study Hall’s Bill Connelly wrote.


In other words, Houston was lucky. But there’s something to be said about being at the right place at the right time.


“I believe you ask a basketball coach if you believe that his team got outhustled or outrebounded or watch a basketball game and one team always gets the loose balls, what’s the difference between a loose ball in basketball than a fumble in football? It’s hustle,” Gibbs said. “It’s guys running to the football. It’s a combination of things. Is it luck? Yeah, it’s luck.”


As much as Gibbs needs to reverse Tech’s turnover trend, he needs to repair a dismal run defense. The Red Raiders allowed a Big 12-worst 259.5 rushing yards per game and allowed 5.2 yards per carry, the eighth-worst average in the league.


Opponents weren’t afraid to average 50 carries per game against the Red Raiders because they knew Tech couldn’t do anything to stop it.


Defensive line has been a major issue, and Texas Tech is counting on a true freshman, Breiden Fehoko, to be an impact player. The linebackers are short on experience as well.


Perhaps some of the youth might be a good thing. Gibbs is the fifth person to coordinate the defense since Ruffin McNeill left before the 2010 season. 


In many ways, all the ingredients of a disorganized defense were present in Lubbock in recent years.


Gibbs is another new face, so where might he succeed where others have not? If Gibbs can get everyone in the right place at the right time, he’ll have a fighting chance to turn around the Red Raiders’ defense.


“That’s what happens on these bad defenses,” Gibbs said. “You got guys trying to do too much and then all heck breaks loose. I see it on good defenses. But the good defenses have good players behind the players making the mistakes. The problem at some of these places is that you don’t have the erasers. I’m not saying they were doing it last year, but they’re not going to do it this year.”

Texas Tech Needs David Gibbs to Reverse Defensive Woes
Post date: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/we-cant-stop-giggling-dizzy-punt

Move over Dizzy Bat, now we have Dizzy Punt.


What’s Dizzy Punt, you ask? Coaches at Dakota State, an NAIA program in Madison, S.D., show us, and we’re pretty much going to keep it on a loop for a few minutes.


(h/t @footballscoop)


What's a Dizzy Punt? Glad You Asked
Post date: Friday, April 17, 2015 - 14:55
Path: /college-football/georgia-tech-declares-itself-state-champion-orange-bowl-rings

Georgia Tech is making sure it commemorates its first win over rival Georgia in six years.


The Yellow Jackets also went on to win the Orange Bowl, defeating Mississippi State 49-34 and earning a bowl championship ring.


One side of the Orange Bowl championship ring commemorates the Yellow Jackets' ACC Coastal title. The other salutes the Georgia “State Champs.” Georgia Tech also defeated Sun Belt champion Georgia Southern 42-38.


Georgia Tech quarterback Tim Byerly shared an image of the ring during his stint as a guest Tweeter for @GTStudents on Thursday.


(h/t @KevinOnCFB)



Georgia Tech Declares itself State Champion on Orange Bowl Rings
Post date: Friday, April 17, 2015 - 11:24
Path: /college-football/can-gene-chizik-save-north-carolina-defense

For now, public shaming will need to be part of the rebuilding process of the North Carolina defense.


Even in spring, there’s plenty of it to go around.


Gene Chizik is in Chapel Hill to fix one of the worst defenses in school history, a unit that has kept Carolina hovering around .500 the last two seasons. Many coaches will spend spring practice preaching physicality. The new defensive coordinator for the Tar Heels is making it part of his central platform.


“We point guys out in meetings that aren’t physical,” Chizik told Athlon Sports. “We’ll point them out and call them out. They know that if they’re not physical and taking the mentality of the physical defense, it’s going to be hard for them to play in it.”


At the same time, hiring Chizik, the former national championship coach at Auburn, to repair the North Carolina defense is as clear a signal as anything in that meeting room.


Cleaning house on the entire defensive coaching staff was a bold move for North Carolina, and one coach Larry Fedora had to make.


Just as players are going to have trouble staying on the field if they’re not playing with the edge Chizik desires, Fedora may have trouble staying at Carolina if Chizik’s defense doesn’t deliver.



North Carolina 2015 schedule analysis

North Carolina spring football preview

Expert Poll: Ranking the jobs in the ACC


There’s no way around it: North Carolina’s defense was historically bad last season. The Tar Heels couldn’t hide it.


• Three times North Carolina scored 35 points or more and lost because the Tar Heels gave up 70 (East Carolina) and 50 (Clemson and Notre Dame) in those games.


• The Tar Heels’ 497.8 yards allowed per game was the fourth-worst in ACC history and second-worst in UNC history.


• North Carolina was last in the ACC pass defense, rush defense, pass efficiency defense and yards allowed per carry. The Heels gave up 67 touchdowns last season, 22 more than the next worst team in the ACC.


• Opponents converted on 49 percent of third downs and scored touchdowns on 72.2 percent of red zone trips, both were among the five worst rates in the nation.


That is the situation Chizik is charged with repairing in his first coaching job since he was fired at Auburn after the 2012 season. With numbers like that, the problems are many — personnel, scheme, leadership, attitude, technique. Chizik keeps going back to square one this spring.


“The biggest thing we have to do is we got to change the mental picture and mindset of these guys,” Chizik said. “You can’t play a style of football without physicality being the No. 1 goal. I don’t feel like we’re there yet at all. They’ve got to learn how to play physical football and bring it every day.”


That much may be true, but Chizik is also changing the scheme at North Carolina, moving from Vic Koenning’s 4-2-5 defense to a more traditional 4-3. That leaves Chizik trying to figure out how last season’s personnel fit in the new look.


“It was recruited as a different defense,” Chizik said. “We’re trying to take some of the spots that are in-between guys. When you have a 4-2-5 you have some guys that are ‘tweener players, so we’ve got to find spots for those guys.”


Middle linebacker Jeff Schoettmer is already one of the top players on the defense, and as a former walk-on safety, he should be plenty comfortable in coverage when North Carolina goes to the Tampa 2 look.


The defensive line has some promise, but the player with the highest ceiling is a true freshman in end Jalen Dalton, a top-100 prospect from Clemmons, N.C. The defensive backs return almost entirely intact, but this was a group torched for an ACC-record 31 touchdown passes. 


This is the area where Chizik may need to thrive the most. His secondaries were the foundation of a national championship team at Texas in 2005 and an undefeated team at Auburn in 2004. Chizik coached three consecutive Thorpe Award winners from 2004-06 — Carlos Rogers at Auburn and Michael Huff and Aaron Ross at Texas.


Listen to the Cover 2 Podcast: Early 2015 ACC Preview

Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher


Beyond the personnel, there’s the problem of his defenses getting off the field.


No ACC defense has been on the field in the last two seasons than North Carolina. The Tar Heels defense played 76.2 snaps per game in 2014 and 76.4 per game in 2013, both the highest rates in the conference in each of the last two seasons.


Opposing offenses aren’t going to change, and neither will Fedora’s up-tempo spread. So the defense has to change to stay off the field for 80 snaps in a game, as happened in four consecutive games at one point last season.


Chizik says the problem isn’t with conditioning, but if the Tar Heels get into a potential shootout, they’re going to need to be more mindful with substitutions.


“If it does become an 85-play game on defense, we’re going to have a great rotation plan with depth particularly early in the season,” Chizik said. “We can’t be afraid to substitute early in the game.”


Given his track record as a defensive coordinator, Chizik is pretty close to a sure-bet to fix North Carolina. He hasn’t been a coordinator since 2006, but he had a top-25 defense in each of his last four seasons as a DC at Texas and Auburn.


In six seasons as a head coach at Auburn and Iowa State, however, Chizik had as many winning seasons as seasons that finished 3-9 or worse.


There was also a consistent cloud of NCAA issues at Auburn from over-the-top recruiting practices that were eventually banned to pulling assistants off the recruiting trail to the Cam Newton saga that hounded Auburn throughout the the 2010 national championship season.


North Carolina has its own issues with an ongoing academic scandal that may or may not bring NCAA sanctions.


An independent report detailing academic fraud at UNC predates Fedora’s tenure and wasn’t limited to football, but that doesn’t mean the head football coach won’t spend time dealing with the fallout — among other issues.


Part of Chizik’s job, as he puts it, is to take the defense so Fedora doesn’t have to worry about the day-to-day issues on that side of the ball.


“Mack Brown used to tell me all the time: You have no idea the things that are behind the scenes that never get to you because it’s my job to put them out before they do,” Chizik said. “And I know that’s what Larry does. That’s why I want to take all the defensive issues off is plate to the best of my ability so that he can do his duties.”


That means a ton of long days from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., the kinds of days Chizik left behind when he was out of coaching for two seasons. During that time, he worked with the SEC Network and SiriusXM Radio and spent time with his family — his family still lives in Auburn while his daughter finishes school there.


“I hadn’t had many 17-hour days in the last two years,” Chizik said. “I haven’t had any. But I’ve had several in the last couple of months.”


And Chizik hopes eventually some of them will start to involve more praising his defense rather than calling out players.

Can Gene Chizik Save the North Carolina Defense?
Post date: Friday, April 17, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: College Basketball, NBA, News
Path: /college-basketball/5-college-coaches-who-would-make-interesting-nba-candidates

The NBA Playoffs begin Friday, meaning the NBA coaching carousel is about to get started.


In most years, this is of secondary concern to the college ranks. The checkered track record of college coaches in the NBA, not to mention the wildly different job descriptions, have kept GMs and ADs in their own playgrounds.


The NBA and college coaching ranks have been a little more interchangeable than usual in recent years. Two new college hires for 2015-16 have been NBA head coaches (Alabama’s Avery Johnson and Nevada’s Eric Musselman). The success of former Butler coach Brad Stevens with the Celtics may earn some college coaches another look.


Then there are the usual college coaches with NBA ties who might see the allure in returning to the league, if not this season then perhaps in coming seasons.


With a recent report pegging Florida’s Billy Donovan as a potential candidate for the Oklahoma City Thunder (should they part ways with Scott Brooks), here are five coaches who might earn a look from the NBA in the coming years.


Billy Donovan, Florida

The rumors of Donovan taking a renewed look at the NBA have kicked up in recent months, and Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski names a potential destination of Oklahoma City. Donovan’s contract, extended by one year to 2020, contains a mere $500,000 buyout if he leaves for the NBA. There’s little more for him to accomplish at Florida with two national titles and four Final Fours and an almost certain induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Following the 2007 national title, Donovan was hired as the head coach for the Orlando Magic for a matter of days before having second thoughts and returning to the Gators.


John Calipari, Kentucky

Calipari’s 72-112 stint with the New Jersey Nets from 1996-99 was the least successful period of his career. For a coach as stubborn as Calipari, the opportunity to atone for that failed stint in the pros might be tough to resist. In coach years, that NBA stint was an eternity ago. He’s gone to four Final Fours, won a national title and sent dozens of players to the NBA since then. He could, presumably, land with a team that contains multiple players he coached in college. Calipari had already been offered a sweet deal by the Cleveland Cavaliers before this year’s 38-1 season.


Kevin Ollie, UConn

Ollie was already well-respected in NBA circles before leading the Huskies to the 2014 national championship. He’s a rising star in the profession and would have immediate credibility in an NBA locker room after 12 seasons in the league. The NBA would have to pry him away from his alma mater where he was the handpicked successor to Jim Calhoun.


Fred Hoiberg, Iowa State

Hoiberg has returned his alma mater to national prominence, taking the Cyclones to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments for the first time in school history. He’s considered one of the sharpest offensive minds in college basketball in part because of his knack for analytics. His exposure to that was honed in the NBA when he worked in the front office for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Like Ollie, he’d have credibility as a former NBA player. Hoiberg is undergoing open heart surgery during the offseason to replace his aortic valve, a procedure related to the surgery that ended his playing career 10 years ago.


Larry Krystkowiak, Utah

Like Ollie and Hoiberg, Krystkowiak comes from NBA stock, playing in the league for more than a decade. Unlike the other two, he’s been an NBA head coach before, going 31-69 in two seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks. Also unlike Ollie and Hoiberg, Krystkowiak isn’t an alum of his employer. His work at Utah can’t be denied as he’s led the Utes to progressive improvement during the last four seasons, culminating with their first Sweet 16 since 2004.

5 College Coaches Who Would Make Interesting NBA Candidates
Post date: Thursday, April 16, 2015 - 15:38
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/urban-meyer-will-pick-ohio-states-quarterback-middle-training-camp

When Ohio State plays its spring game Saturday, the Buckeyes will be a long way from deciding their biggest offseason question as they head into 2015.


National championship quarterback Cardale Jones will start for one squad. Sophomore Stephen Collier will start for the other.


The spring game won’t include 2013 starter Braxton Miller and 2014 starter J.T. Barrett, who are sitting out this spring due to shoulders.


Naturally, coach Urban Meyer doesn’t expect to make his decision on a starting quarterback until closer to the season.


“I think the middle of training camp because I think every one of them deserve that opportunity and right now two of them aren’t getting it,” Meyer said. “I think by training camp you have to have a handle on that thing.”



Big Ten Schedule Analysis

Ranking the Big Ten Coaching Jobs (Expert Poll)

Podcast: Early Big Ten Preview


Miller was lost for the 2014 season in August to a right shoulder injury. Barrett stepped in and set school records for touchdown passes and total offense before sustaining a shoulder injury of his own against Michigan. Jones then started the Big Ten championship game, the Sugar Bowl semifinal and the national championship game.


All three stayed at Ohio State when Miller could have transferred and been eligible immediately as a graduate transfer. Jones was eligible for the NFL Draft.


“The quarterbacks have continued to amaze me,” Meyer said. “The power of the unit is incredible in that room. Cardale has had a great spring. J.T. has had a very good spring. Braxton is right in the middle of it. You never knew how that dynamic would work out.”


Urban Meyer Will Pick Ohio State's Quarterback in "Middle of Training Camp"
Post date: Thursday, April 16, 2015 - 15:24