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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Texas beats Iowa In Alamo Bowl

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Colt McCoy was supposed be a placeholder for Texas at quarterback this season. Now, he's a record holder.

The redshirt freshman who replaced Vince Young turned in another gritty performance with two touchdown passes to rally the No. 18 Longhorns to a 26-24 victory Saturday over Iowa in the Alamo Bowl.

Most TD Passes by a Freshman
Single season, I-A history
Player Year School TDs
David Neill 1998 Nevada 29
Colt McCoy 2006 Texas 29
Chad Henne 2004 Michigan 25
Kevin Kolb 2003 Houston 25
Ben Roethlisberger 2001 Miami (OH) 25
Philip Rivers 2000 NC State 25
John Denton 1996 UNLV 25

McCoy had been cleared to play just a week earlier after suffering a severely pinched nerve in his neck in each of Texas' last two games -- both losses. He also ran 8 yards on fourth down to set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Selvin Young early in the fourth quarter that proved to be the game winner.

Vince Young left Texas a year early after leading the Longhorns to the national title last season, and McCoy became the starter before he had ever played a down in college.

"He stepped in a position replacing one of the best quarterbacks to ever play," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "To do that, and fight back and regain his confidence tonight shows just how tough Colt is."

McCoy finished 26-for-40 for 308 yards. His 29 touchdown passes this season tied the NCAA freshman record set by Nevada's David Neill in 1998.

"Coming into this season all you want to do is win," McCoy said. "That's what Vince taught me. You've got to make people believe."

Texas (10-3), the 2005 national champion, won at least 10 games for the sixth straight season and avoided its first three-game losing streak since 1999.

Drew Tate passed for 274 yards and two touchdowns, both to Andy Brodell, for the Hawkeyes (6-7), who lost six of their last seven games.

The Longhorns were heavy favorites in front of an Alamo Bowl record crowd of 65,875 that was mostly a sea of burnt-orange. Texas fans had an easy 70-mile drive from Austin.

But Iowa stunned them by taking a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and retaking the lead at 21-20 with 1:08 left in the third when Brodell scored his second touchdown on a 23-yard reception.

Brodell had six catches for 159 yards.

McCoy, who looked shaky early, had given Texas its first lead -- 20-14 -- with a 72-yard sideline strike to tailback Jamaal Charles in the third.

After Young's touchdown with just under 11 minutes left, Iowa pulled within 26-24 when Kyle Schlicher kicked a 38-yard field goal. The Hawkeyes then forced a punt and had the ball near midfield.

The Hawkeyes then got tripped up by their own trickery. Texas safety Marcus Griffin tackled Dominique Douglas for a 9-yard loss on a wide-receiver pass on first down. Iowa punted three plays later.

"A field goal wins the game," Brown said. "Then they got in trouble. It was the game-changing play."

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz regretted calling the trick play.

"It's totally my fault. I'm sick over it," Ferentz said. "Guys competed that long and that hard and that put us in a bad situation."

Texas won its third straight bowl game and became the first team to win the Alamo Bowl after trailing at halftime.

Longhorns fans so disappointed by not making a third consecutive Bowl Championship Series game, will remember this one for McCoy's game effort.

Knocked down several times by Iowa's blitz-heavy pass rush, McCoy wasn't sharp at the start. He underthrew several receivers and looked tentative to run and risk another injury. The Longhorns didn't have another scholarship quarterback available if he got hurt.

"I knew I just had to put the injury behind me," McCoy said.

Tate was just the opposite, passing for 184 yards in the first half. He played high school football in Baytown, just outside of Houston, and his final college game was his first back in his home state.

"I knew he'd play good. He's a coach's son," Brown said. "When he started hot, I was just hoping we could knock him down a bit."

Longhorns fans were just starting to crank up their "Texas Fight!" chant when the Hawkeyes scored on their first two possessions. Albert Young set up the first with a 26-yard run then scored on the next play on the opening drive.

The Hawkeyes needed one play to strike again. Brodell took a short pass, faked out Texas cornerback Aaron Ross, the Thorpe Award winner, and outraced the Longhorns down the sideline for a 63-yard score.

"It felt like they were picking on me the whole game," Ross said.

He made up for it with an interception in the end zone.

"Ross is a playmaker. He can change a game at any given time," said Texas free safety Michael Griffin.

Texas followed with its first touchdown. McCoy floated a perfect pass to Limas Sweed for a 20-yard score just before halftime to make it 14-10.

"That was huge, It turned things around for us," McCoy said of Ross' pick. "Nobody gave up."

Georgia Comes back From 18 Down To Win

ATLANTA (AP) -- At 6-4, Georgia's season appeared lost. The Bulldogs' streak of 10-win seasons and top-10 rankings would end at four, and they were facing the real possibility of a losing record.

After three straight wins over ranked opponents, including a 31-24 comeback upset of No. 14 Virginia Tech in Saturday night's Chick-fil-A Bowl, Georgia coach Mark Richt had reason to be ecstatic.

"To be where we were, pretty much lost and forgotten, and to beat three ranked teams ... is pretty fantastic," Richt said.

Georgia finished an up-and-down season with three straight victories over ranked teams -- No. 5 Auburn and No. 16 Georgia Tech before the bowl game -- a first for the program.

The Bulldogs (9-4) also found their offensive coordinator for the future while salvaging the season.

New Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo's offense delivered in the second half as Georgia rallied from an 18-point deficit.

The offense, led by freshman quarterback, Matthew Stafford, had help from senior linebacker Tony Taylor, who set up two fourth-quarter touchdowns with interceptions.

Virginia Tech gave up only 9.3 points per game while shutting out four opponents in the regular season, but Georgia scored 28 second-half points to rally from a 21-3 halftime deficit.

"At halftime we said, 'Look, we're down 21-3, but all we need to do is get a couple of first downs," Bobo said. "We knew we were going to have the opportunity to get some guys open deep if we could protect, and we were able to do that."

Stafford was a modest 9-for-21 passing for 129 yards with one touchdown and one interception, but his total included passes of 41 yards to Martrez Milner, 24 yards to Mario Raley and 27 yards to Brannan Southerland.

Only Georgia Tech, which beat Virginia Tech 38-27, scored more points against the Hokies this season.

"Never could I see us having a 21-3 lead and then losing the game," defensive tackle Carlton Powell said. "They definitely got the momentum, and it started snowballing."

Powell called the loss "doubly heartbreaking."

"They kept getting the ball on our side of the field," he said. "It hurts a lot more when you shoot yourself in the foot."

Richt gave Bobo, the quarterbacks coach, play-calling duties before the final regular-season game against Georgia Tech. Bobo was promoted to offensive coordinator this month after Neil Callaway accepted the job as Alabama-Birmingham's head coach.

"[Bobo] had a lot of nerve to make some of the calls he did," Richt said. "It's a little bit unfair to throw it at him late in the season, but he handled it well."

Taylor's interceptions gave the senior linebacker seven for the season and helped Georgia rally after Virginia Tech (10-3) led 21-3 at halftime.

"By the 13th game, I think we should be able to handle business like that," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said.

Sean Glennon was 13-for-26 passing for 94 yards with three interceptions -- all in the final quarter.

"We threw it to the other team ... and let Georgia back in it," Beamer said.

Stafford threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Milner in the third quarter and passed to Milner again for a 2-point conversion in the fourth quarter that tied the score 21-21.

Brandon Coutu's third field goal of the game, from 28 yards, gave Georgia a 24-21 lead with 10:42 left in the game. Taylor returned his second interception, on a pass deflected by cornerback Paul Oliver, 15 yards to the Virginia Tech 1. Fullback Brannan Southerland scored on a fourth-down run from the 1 for a 31-21 lead with 7:30 left.

A 28-yard field goal by Virginia Tech's Brandon Pace cut the Bulldogs' lead to 31-24 with 3:41 left.

Virginia Tech got the ball again on its 20 with 1:25 left but was stopped on downs.

Virginia Tech appeared poised for a runaway win with a dominant first half, including 21 points in the second quarter. Branden Ore scored on two short runs and receiver Eddie Royal then threw a 53-yard TD pass to tight end Sam Wheeler on for tjhe Hokies.

Georgia answered with its own big plays. Following Coutu's second field goal, a successful onside kick set up Stafford's touchdown pass to Milner.

Taylor's first interception gave Georgia possession at the Virginia Tech 43 early in the fourth quarter and led to Kregg Lumpkin's 3-yard touchdown run. The 2-point conversion tied the game at 21-21.

Coutu was also good from 39 and 51 in his first game since Sept. 30. He missed the final seven games of the regular season with a hamstring injury.

Virginia Tech defensive end Noland Burchette left the game in the first half after breaking his left arm. The Hokies lost cornerback Brandon Flowers to a sprained right ankle in the third quarter.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Kentucky Upsets Clemson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Andre Woodson conjured up memories of Tim Couch and made Kentucky a bowl winner for the first time in 22 years.

Woodson threw for three touchdowns and 300 yards as the Wildcats surprised Clemson 28-20 in the Music City Bowl on Friday.

The junior completed 20 of 30 passes to finish his breakout season with 31 touchdowns -- more than five times his total from last year. He joins Couch, the former No. 1 NFL draft pick, as the only Wildcats to top the 30-touchdown mark in a season.

"If he keeps doing this, he's going to play at the next level and play it very well," Woodson's coach Rich Brooks said.

Behind Woodson, the game's Most Valuable Player, the Wildcats (8-5) racked up their highest point total in bowl history. They won their sixth bowl game overall and first since beating Wisconsin in the 1984 Hall of Fame Bowl.

Kentucky made its first bowl appearance since 1999 in front of a huge contingency of Wildcats fans, many of whom made the 200-mile trip from Lexington, home of Commonwealth Stadium.

"I told some of the guys down on the sideline on defense, I said, 'Look guys, look around you," said senior defensive end Durrell White. "'We didn't do nothing but move Commonwealth down here to Nashville."

Clemson (8-5) took the loss in its 18th bowl game since 1985. The Tigers hadn't ended their season in defeat in three years. Despite beating Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, the teams that played for the Atlantic Coast Conference title, Clemson went into a tailspin down the stretch, losing four of five.

While Kentucky's offensive fireworks weren't unexpected, a defense that came into the game ranked second-to-last nationally made the difference.

"We didn't get any respect coming into this game," said linebacker Wesley Woodyard, who led the Wildcats with 12 tackles. "A lot of people expected our defense to come in and curl up, but that's not a defense. If the game was played on paper, we'd be blown out 50-0."

The Wildcats held a 4-2 turnover advantage and limited Clemson to just six points until the final seven minutes when Kentucky used a prevent defense.

"It didn't look like we played very smart," Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said. "We did some things that really cost us as far as turnovers and made some penalties in the red zone."

A large early deficit forced the Tigers, one of the country's best rushing teams, into passing situations. Running backs James Davis and C.J. Spiller combined for just 77 yards, and Spiller fell short of the 86 he needed to make the tandem the first in school history with 1,000 rushing yards each.

"I really think the MVP of this game was the defense," Woodson said.

After four straight second-quarter drives ended with turnovers -- two for each team -- Brooks sought a spark with a little razzle-dazzle.

Rather than punt from deep in Kentucky territory, punter Tim Masthay threw for the first down.

"If it doesn't work, you're the dumbest guy in the world," Brooks said. " If it works, you get the first down."

Woodson then lofted a deep pass over the Clemson secondary and found DeMoreao Ford streaking for a 70-yard touchdown -- the longest allowed all season by the nation's 12th-ranked defense.

The Wildcats made it 21-6 early in the second half after a Clemson fumble, when Woodson found Dicky Lyons Jr. on a sideline pattern for the 24-yard score. They put the game out of reach with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Tamme.

Clemson cut the deficit to eight points with 44 seconds left when Proctor threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Kelly and added a 2-point conversion. But Kentucky recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.

"I'm absolutely disappointed," Proctor said. "Obviously it is disappointing when you don't convert the points."

The Wildcats drove into Clemson territory on their first drive before Gaines Adams stormed through the line to strip the ball from Woodson. It was one of two sacks on the afternoon for the All-American, giving him 28 in his career to tie Michael Dean Perry for first on the Tigers' all-time list.

Phillip Merling picked up the loose ball and seemed to give the Tigers prime field position, but a replay showed Woodson's knee was down before the ball came out.

Kentucky took advantage of the second chance and freshman linebacker Micah Johnson, the state's top high school football player last year, scored his first touchdown, plunging in from a yard out.

Proctor threw for three touchdowns and 272 yards, but Jad Dean missed two first-quarter field-goal attempts and an extra point after Durrell Barry's 32-yard TD reception made it 7-6 Kentucky

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Oklahoma State Kicks Field Goal With 8.9 seconds Left To Get Win

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) -- Oklahoma State tried to give away the Independence Bowl to Alabama. Dantrell Savage and Jason Ricks took it back for the Cowboys.

Ricks kicked a 27-yard field goal with 8.9 seconds remaining to give Oklahoma State a 34-31 victory over Alabama on Thursday night.

Savage ran for 112 yards and a touchdown and made the key play on the winning drive. He took a screen pass from Bobby Reid for 26 yards on third-and-9 to the Alabama 15 to put Ricks in prime position.

Alabama tried to ice Ricks with three timeouts, but the sophomore sent the kick through the uprights and he snatched off his helmet and ran to the sidelines with it extended over his head.

The kick saved the Cowboys (7-6) from a fourth-quarter collapse and gave them both a winning record and their first bowl victory since 2002. Oklahoma State blew a 14-point lead, setting up the Crimson Tide for the tying touchdown with a fumbled kickoff return.

Alabama (6-7) was playing in its NCAA-record 54th bowl game and looking for its 31st bowl victory -- another NCAA record -- but for much of the night the Crimson Tide's vaunted postseason history seemed a distant memory. Bama played flat until late in the fourth quarter.

With the Tide trailing 31-17, Javier Arenas returned a punt 86 yards to pull Alabama to within a touchdown with 10:50 left in the game.

Then Grant Jones fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Chris Rogers recovered, giving Alabama a first down on the Oklahoma State 21. Six plays later, left tackle Andra Smith caught a lateral from John Parker Wilson and ran 2 yards to tie the game at 31.

It was a bitter end to a bitter year for the Tide. Playing for the first time since Mike Shula was fired, Bama was unable to dodge its first losing record since 2003, Shula's first season.

Alabama is still without a coach for next season after being turned down by West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez. Defensive coordinator Joe Kines has handled the head coaching duties in the interim.

Oklahoma State -- ranked 16th nationally in total offense -- outgained Alabama 419-276. The Cowboys rushed for 207 yards compared to 108 yards for the Tide.

Reid completed 15 of 29 attempts for 212 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and Keith Toston added 58 yards and two TDs.

John Parker Wilson completed 18 of 33 for 168 yards and a touchdown for Alabama. He was intercepted twice.

The Cowboys scooped up an Alabama fumble on the Tide's 38-yard line to set up the opening score. Savage ran the final yard to cap a 38-yard drive and make it 7-0 Oklahoma State.

Alabama tied it on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Matt Caddell with 3:32 remaining in the first quarter.

Oklahoma State went ahead 14-7 on Toston's 4-yard run. The Cowboys stretched their lead to 17-7 on a 28-yard field goal by Ricks.

Alabama cut the margin to 17-14 on a 1-yard run by fullback Tim Castille. But Bama was unable to stop the Cowboys final drive of the half. Oklahoma State took it 64 yards, capped by a 7-yard run by Toston for a 24-14 lead at the half.

In the third quarter Jamie Christensen kicked a 24 yard field goal to pull Alabama three points closer.

Then Reid hit Adarius Bowman for a 10-yard score to give Oklahoma State a 14 point lead at 31-17.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Another Stupid NCAA Rule Could Hurt Buckeyes

AKRON, Ohio -- Two Ohio State football players left a fund-raiser to help their families attend the upcoming Tostitos BCS Championship Game because of concerns the benefit violated NCAA rules.

Running backs Antonio Pittman and Chris Wells were at the spaghetti dinner fund-raiser Saturday night in Akron when Wells' mother called Ohio State offensive coordinator Jim Bollman to explain the situation.

Bollman told the Akron Beacon Journal that he informed her that NCAA rules do not allow benefit dinners for players' families, and he advised her to have Wells and Pittman leave.

Bollman said he didn't know if the players could get in trouble.

Event organizers said the money instead will go to two local pee wee football associations.

A message seeking comment was left with the NCAA.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Rutgers Fans Are Happy

NEW YORK -- Cablevision Systems Corp., a New York-area cable TV provider, reached an agreement with the NFL Network on Friday that will allow its customers to see the Rutgers and Kansas State play in the inaugural Texas Bowl next Thursday.

The agreement resolves a standoff that had raised the ire of fans in the New York and New Jersey area, who were clamoring to see Rutgers -- long an underdog on the college football circuit -- cap its best season in the Big East.

Cablevision still doesn't have a long-term carriage agreement with the NFL Network but on Friday accepted an offer to carry the network for free for the week of Dec. 24 through Dec. 30.

The NFL holds the rights to broadcast the matchup, which is being played in Houston. Without carriage on cable providers, many local fans wouldn't have been able to see the game since it isn't being carried on a local broadcast outlet.

Cablevision said it would carry the network on its digital tier, a supplemental service that is received by many customers. It will also carry the game itself on its widely available basic tier.

The NFL Network had already reached a similar agreement with another local cable provider, Time Warner Inc.'s Time Warner Cable unit.

Time Warner had originally balked at an NFL request to carry the network for the full week on its most widely available basic cable service, saying there wasn't enough capacity.

Time Warner Cable also doesn't have a long-term deal with the network and says the NFL is asking for too much money for the network. It is also resisting demands from the NFL that it be placed on its broadest tier, which Time Warner says would be expensive.

The NFL Network is about 2 years old but only began broadcasting live games this year. In addition to the Texas Bowl and another college bowl game, the Insight Bowl between Minnesota and Texas Tech on Dec. 29, the network is carrying eight live NFL games this year.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

SF Chron's Jake Curtis Is Wrong; Harbaugh's No Jeff Tedford

In today's SF Chronicle, writer Jake Curtis compares the selection of new Stanford Head Coach Jim Harbaugh to that of the choice of Cal: Jeff Tedford.

I'm sorry, Jake, you're way wrong.

Let's compare, the two.

Jeff Tedford was Oregon's Offensive Coordinator. That means he knew the Pac-10 and most important was familar with recruiting in the conference and against rival schools like Cal. Does Harbaugh have that kind of experience? No.

Jeff Tedford was at least able to tell Cal recruits that he coached Joey Harington who's in the NFL; who's Jim Harbaugh coached that's playing in the NFL? No one.

Jeff Tedford was known for a different style of offensive and quarterbacking. At least Harbaugh can lay claim to that but it's at the Division I-AA level.

Still, he did coach the leading passer in Division 1-AA and has a 29 win, 3 loss record. So he can at least claim to be the USC of Division 1-AA.

But he'll need more than that to top Cal. We'll keep the Axe for another four years!

Stanford Hires Jim Harbaugh To Coach Football

Successful USD coach hired to reverse faltering program

By Brent Schrotenboer
December 19, 2006

JIM BAIRD / Union-Tribune
Jim Harbaugh led the Toreros to a 22-2 record since 2005 after going 7-4 his first season in 2004.
USD head football coach Jim Harbaugh has been hired to coach Stanford, reuniting him with his Palo Alto roots and ending a dominating tenure in San Diego that made him a candidate for several major college football jobs across the country.

Harbaugh, who turns 43 Saturday, will be introduced as Stanford's new coach at a 2 p.m. news conference today in Palo Alto, where he played at Palo Alto High, and where his father, Jack, served as Stanford's defensive coordinator in 1980-81. A Stanford athletic department spokesman confirmed the hire yesterday.

“It's a job Jim has coveted for a long time because of his history in Palo Alto,” said Harbaugh's agent, Jack Bechta. “He's been on the campus a hundred times. He's been to their practice field, been to their games. Stanford has been a big component of his life, so it's somewhat of a homecoming for him. But he's also heartbroken to be leaving USD and their players. They're a special group of guys, and he couldn't get there without their help.”

Harbaugh and USD Athletic Director Ky Snyder did not immediately return phone messages yesterday seeking comment. After interviewing last year with San Diego State and Rice, and this year with Iowa State, Tulane and North Texas, Harbaugh landed on top of a Stanford search that included Chargers receivers coach James Lofton, Montana head coach Bobby Hauck and former New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel.

Harbaugh will replace Walt Harris, who was fired after his team went 1-11.

Winning ways:

Jim Harbaugh was 29-6 in three years at USD, including 27-2 in his last 29 games. His record, compared with that of Stanford, where he takes over next season:


'04 7-4 .636

'05 11-1 .917

'06 11-1 .917

TOT 29-6 .829


'04 4-7 .364

'05 5-6 .455

'06 1-11 .083

TOT 10-24 .294

In his first head coaching job at the major college level, his biggest challenge will be making Stanford competitive again despite its rigid academic admissions requirements. But it's an angle he's tackled before at Division I-AA USD, where there are no scholarships for football and the school prides itself on a pristine private academic reputation.

Harbaugh led the Division I-AA Toreros to a 22-2 record since 2005 after going 7-4 his first season in 2004. In contrast, Stanford has won just 16 games the past five seasons under Harris and previous coach Buddy Teevens.

Harbaugh's coaching record, fiery personality and fame as a player boosted his candidacy for several open jobs. He played 15 years as a quarterback in the NFL after starring at Michigan, where he finished third in the Heisman Trophy award voting in 1986 behind winner Vinny Testaverde and runner-up Paul Palmer.

Harbaugh lives in Coronado, where he is divorced and has three children.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Michigan Wants To Make A Statement In Rose Bowl

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Chad Henne stood in front of a roomful of reporters Thursday, speaking of the opportunity Michigan has to prove it's one of the nation's top college football teams.

Henne and his teammates also want to show that the Wolverines, who ended the last three seasons with bowl losses, know how to finish strong and can overcome having their national title hopes dashed.

All Michigan has to do is beat Southern California in the Rose Bowl.

Beating the Trojans will go a long way toward erasing the disappointment of their 42-39 loss to No. 1 Ohio State and that Florida -- not the No. 3 Wolverines -- will face the Buckeyes for the BCS title.

"We want to finish off on the right note," the Michigan quarterback said. "The last two seasons, we didn't finish."

The fourth-ranked Trojans also enter the New Year's Day test with plenty to prove after taking themselves out of the national championship picture with a loss to UCLA in their last regular-season game.

Each team believes it could have been playing for a championship and has plenty of motivation going into a Rose Bowl that could establish which is the top-ranked team next preseason.

"It's definitely like a national championship game at the Rose Bowl," Michigan senior defensive end LaMarr Woodley said. "You have two teams that had a chance to play for a national championship and we both got bad breaks."

With a win in Pasadena, the Wolverines would become only the second team in school history to finish a season with 12 wins. Michigan capped its 1997 national championship season with its 12th victory in the Rose Bowl against Washington State.

But in addition to etching its name in the school record books, a win would also provide the Wolverines' first postseason win since 2002, when Michigan knocked off Florida in the Outback Bowl.

Since then, the Wolverines have lost twice in the Rose Bowl to USC and Texas before finishing off last year's disappointing 7-5 campaign with a loss to Nebraska in the Alamo Bowl.

"We want to prove we can finish our year," said Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long, who announced Thursday that he will return for his senior year. "In past seasons, we haven't been able to win the bowl game, and we want to come out and prove that we're a great team and prove that we can play with the best and win, and that we can finish a season strong."

Michigan players said a win over USC would also lay the groundwork for 2007, which has the makings of another strong year. Besides Long and Henne, who also said he will be back, the Wolverines return a lot of talent on both sides of the ball.

The only major question mark for next season is junior defensive tackle Allen Branch, who has not announced his intentions. Tailback Mike Hart, who has said he is almost certain he will return, said he hasn't been able to gauge which way Branch is leaning.

"We talk, but I don't know if he even knows what he's doing," Hart said Thursday. "I hope he's coming back. I'm anxious to see, too. But he keeps giving me the 'I don't know."'

What Hart does know is that facing USC in the Rose Bowl is an opportunity to prove that this Michigan team is among the country's elite.

"We've got to win this game," he said. "You don't want to end a great year like we've had with a loss -- that would kind of put the season down. So that should be enough motivation right there."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Four Buckeyes Could Leave Early

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Four of Ohio State's top offensive players are considering leaving school early to enter the NFL draft.

Junior wide receivers Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez, tailback Antonio Pittman and lineman Kirk Barton filed paperwork with the NFL on Friday.

"We're just awaiting some information so that we can make good decisions," said coach Jim Tressel, whose No. 1 Buckeyes play No. 2 Florida for the national title Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz.

An NFL advisory committee estimates where, or if, a player might be taken in the draft. A player can then elect to remain in college or make himself available for the draft.

Pittman said several weeks ago he wanted to come back for his senior year and win the Heisman Trophy -- just as teammate Troy Smith did this year.

"I want to come back, but like anyone else I have a family to take care of," said Pittman, who rushed for 1,171 yards and 13 touchdowns after gaining 1,331 yards and scoring seven times a year ago. "When the paperwork comes back in, I'll sit down with my parents and coach Tress and then we'll make a decision."

Ginn led top-ranked Ohio State (12-0) with 59 receptions for 781 yards and nine touchdowns. With breakneck speed, he is also one of the nation's top return men.

Gonzalez is second on the team in receiving with 49 catches for 723 yards and eight scores. He is known as a dependable receiver with good hands and speed.

He filled out the papers just to keep his options open.

"What I want to do is come back, that's for sure," Gonzalez said. "That's easy because it's fun here. The vast majority of the people I know in the NFL are miserable."

The 6-foot-6, 310-pound Barton started every game at right tackle as the Buckeyes averaged 36.3 points and 410 yards per game.

Three Buckeyes left early a year ago for the NFL, with two taken in the first round (defensive back Donte Whitner and wide receiver Santonio Holmes) and another in the third (defensive back Ashton Youboty).

Twenty-two Ohio State players have left school early to be a part of the draft since 1992. The list includes some of the most productive Buckeyes in the NFL: Dan Wilkinson, Terry Glenn, Shawn Springs, Orlando Pace, Nate Clements and Chris Gamble.

The Buckeyes are chasing their second national championship in the past five years. Ginn said his focus right now is not on the NFL, but the game.

"The papers and the NFL and all that can wait," he said. "It's going to be a decision that I'll have to ask my parents about."

Tressel called Gonzalez to suggest that he file the paperwork. Gonzalez said had no desire to leave but would reserve judgment until after he had gotten an idea of what NFL teams thought about him.

"I want to come back. Now what's the right thing to do? I don't have the answer to that. Nobody does right now," he said.

Pittman is not looking forward to making the decision when the time comes.

"I don't think it's an easy decision at all," he said. "For the last three years, this is all I've known. These guys come in here are like family. To walk away from your family is a hard thing."

Asked if players leaving early came with having a high-profile program, Tressel said, "It's just part of the deal."

Friday, December 15, 2006

Williams Will Be Given release to Transfer From Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK -- Quarterback Mitch Mustain, staying; tight end Ben Cleveland, staying; receiver Damian Williams, leaving.

In a recent book, Mustain questioned the sophistication of Arkansas' offense.
Houston Nutt quickly summarized the status of three freshmen whose roles in Arkansas' offense have made them the focus of drama at the tail end of the Razorbacks' first winning season in three years.

The Arkansas coach said Wednesday he would let Williams transfer amid concerns voiced by several parents about the direction of the Razorbacks' offense.

Williams' parents, along with those of two other freshmen, met with athletic director Frank Broyles last week to raise concerns that their sons might not be a good fit for the Razorbacks' system. Parents of Mustain and Cleveland were also at the meeting -- all three players went to Springdale High School.

Nutt said he believes Mustain and Cleveland are "100 percent committed."

"I'm excited about Ben, excited about Mitch, and we are going forward," Nutt said. "And we're going to be very, very, very positive from this day forward."

Parental Power Play
The football melodrama at Arkansas seems symptomatic of an American athletic culture that has let celebrity seep down into the grass roots, writes Pat Forde. Story

Williams, a freshman who played high school football at Springdale, is tied for second on the No. 12 Razorbacks with 19 catches. Marcus Monk leads with 49. Williams was named to the Southeastern Conference's all-freshman team last week.

Arkansas will face No. 6 Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day.

Williams was one of four star players from Springdale who signed with Arkansas in February, including Mustain, Cleveland and receiver Andrew Norman. The Razorbacks hired Springdale coach Gus Malzahn as offensive coordinator last December.

Until Nutt's announcement Wednesday, the biggest news of the day concerned Beck Campbell, Mustain's mother. Campbell released a statement about the meeting with Broyles, saying the parents respected Nutt's prerogative to shape the team's strategy.

Campbell said she discussed concerns about her son's future as a football player. Campbell said she did not seek promises or guarantees and that playing time was not an issue.

"It was agreed by all parties involved that the head coach has the valid right to determine the direction of the program and the manner in which the team would develop," she said.

Mustain was one of the nation's most sought-after recruits last year.

Rick Cleveland, the tight end's father, said the parents understand Arkansas can run whatever offense it's comfortable with, but he's concerned the Springdale players might have been sold "a bill of goods" during recruiting.

"Our boys are used to catching 60 passes a year," Cleveland told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "They want to go to a college where they get the same opportunity."

It was the latest distraction for the Razorbacks as they wrap up their best season in years. Led by tailback Darren McFadden's SEC-leading 1,558 yards -- a school record -- Arkansas (10-3) bounced back from two straight losing seasons to win the SEC West. But lately there's been as much talk about Mustain and his fellow freshmen as about Arkansas' upcoming bowl.

A recent book about Springdale's season last year attributed quotes critical of Nutt to Mustain. According to the book, Mustain questioned the sophistication of Arkansas' offense during the recruiting process. He also made an off-the-cuff comment after Nutt took credit for a play call following an Arkansas win. The quarterback said Arkansas "would have a better chance of getting me" if Nutt were fired.

Nutt said he felt the book had been weighing on Mustain. The freshman started eight games -- all wins -- before being replaced by Casey Dick last month. Mustain has completed 52.5 percent of his passes this season for 853 yards with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

"He was talking about the book. It's easy to see why the two weeks prior to South Carolina, why there was a little bit of digression. He had a lot on him. It was the book. He was worried about it," Nutt said.

"I had a good meeting with Mitch earlier in the week, and he apologized to me. He wants to be here, he wants to be a Razorback, and he wants to compete for this job, and I'm excited about that," Nutt said. "Ben Cleveland, I just met with him, he's very, very excited. He wanted to be here, and he's putting everything aside. He wants to be a Razorback, and I accept that 100 percent.

"Damian Williams, unfortunately, he could not accept things the way they are, and he's asked for his release and I have granted his release and he'll have that [Thursday] morning, and I wish him the best," Nutt said.

Head coach Houston Nutt said he believes Cleveland is "100 percent committed."
Williams had initially said he was going to go to Florida, but he switched to Arkansas just before signing day. Mustain, Cleveland and Norman had already committed by that time.

Rick Cleveland said the parents who met with Broyles were concerned about Malzahn's control over the offense. Springdale used a spread offense last year, and the passing game played a bigger role than it has at Arkansas this season.

McFadden, the Heisman Trophy runner-up, and Felix Jones, another 1,000-yard rusher, have been big reasons for that. Nutt said the Razorbacks will eventually do more on offense but that he and his team couldn't afford to think long-term after struggling in 2004 and 2005.

"Y'all know as well as I know -- we had to win this year," Nutt said. "We had to win. That's what y'all told me. We had to win this year. That's what we did -- tried to put our players first."

Malzahn's influence on the offense has been a hot topic around Arkansas.

"We couldn't have won 10 games if there's chemistry flaws," Nutt said.

Nutt admitted that his team had been affected by the recent drama, particularly the book.

"I had to really talk to my seniors hard, because they were hurting for me," Nutt said. "I said, 'Listen, don't worry about me. ... I don't want you bothering Mitch or Ben.'

"We have all said silly things," Nutt said. "We've all said dumb things. No one ... has been there with a tape recorder."

Mustain said he apologized to Nutt.

"I felt as a Christian I owed him an apology," Mustain said. "I asked him to forgive me and I think he did. It's been a lot better since that happened."

Nutt said he wanted any transfer talk resolved as soon as possible.

"I asked them all to go ahead and get out if they're not happy. Get out now -- don't take advantage of me with the [Capital One] Bowl," Nutt said. "We've got too many Magic Kingdom rides, we have too many other things to do."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

James Lofton - Thankfully Not Stanford's Only Black Coaching Candidate!

Earlier, I identified that -- according to information I got at the time from Stanford Alums who are friends -- James Lofton was the only candidate of color to be interviewed by Stanford.

Well it seems my proding of the Stanford alumns has forced some to look up new information and present it to me. I'm very happy to report that James Lofton is not the only black candidate that was approached. San Jose State Co-Defensive Coordinator Tom Williams and (excellent news) UCLA Defensive Coordinator DeWayne Walker have been contacted by Stanford's Athletic Director Bob Bolwsby.

For those Stanford Alumns who may be upset, my response is that I'm really really happy to be the cattle prod that produced the raison d'etre for this information. We've got to make sure that diversity in hiring is an objective that is never avoided.

I'm happy -- very happy -- to see that Stanford is at least following the right road. But the overwhelming error here is that Bowsby played this close to the vest rather than being open. That's where the PR nighmare starts.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Stanford Football Head Coaching Job Not Listed With Black Coaches Association

As a follow-up to my post on James Lofton's place as the "token" interview in the Stanford search, I went to the website of the Black Coaches Association to see if the Stanford job was listed as open with that organization, which keeps information on Black coaches in football.

It wasn't listed.

Here's what I found as of this writing -- all 15 openings. (Maybe someone at Stanford will get on the ball and make a listing!)

Assistant Football Coach(s) & Lecturer(s)
1508 Football Full-Time BCAJobLineOneTimeUser
Assistant Football Coach(es) & Lecturer(s): The University of North Carolina
Head Football Coach
1516 Football Full-Time Coach
Head Football Coach - Gannon University, a NCAA Division II Catholic university,
Head Football Coach
1517 Football Full-Time AnnualJobLineUser
HEAD FOOTBALL COACH, Iowa State University Duties: Responsible for administer
Director of Football Operations
1518 Football Full-Time AnnualJobLineUser
DIRECTOR OF FOOTBALL OPERATIONS, Iowa State University Duties: Director of O
Assistant Football Coach
1519 Football Full-Time AnnualJobLineUser
ASSISTANT FOOTBALL COACH, Iowa State University Duties: Assist with all phase
Head Coach
1520 Football Full-Time Coach
Head Football Coach: Tennessee Tech University, a Division I NCAA Football Champ
Assistant Football Coach-Defense
1528 Football Full-Time Assistant Coach
Colgate University, an NCAA Division I-AA member of the Patriot League Conferenc
Head Coach
1532 Football Full-Time Coach
Position: Idaho State University is seeking candidates for the position of Head
Assistant Football Coach
1533 Football Full-Time BCAJobLineOneTimeUser
University of Northern Iowa Assistant Football Coach Intercollegiate Athletics
Academic Counselor/Tutor Coordinator
1538 Football Full-Time Academic Counsler
Notice of Position Vacancy University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate
Head Football Coach
1543 Football Full-Time BCAJobLineOneTimeUser
Head Football Coach: California State University, Sacramento is accepting applic
Head Football Coach
1544 Football Full-Time BCAJobLineOneTimeUser
Head Football Coach Tulane University is accepting applications for the p
Head Football Coach
1546 Football Full-Time BCAJobLineOneTimeUser
Position: Head Football Coach Starting Date: December 15, 2006 Job Des
Head Football Coach
1550 Football Full-Time AnnualJobLineUser
Louisiana Tech University is seeking candidates for the full-time, 12 month posi
Head Coach
1551 Football Full-Time Coach
Head Football Coach. Central Michigan University is accepting applications for

Jarrett All-American Again

NEW YORK -- Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny and Southern California receiver Dwayne Jarrett overcame adversity to become two-time Associated Press All-Americans.

Breakdown of Selections
By Conference
Big Ten Nine
SEC Five
Pac-10 Four
ACC Three
Big East Two
Big 12 Two
By Class
Seniors 17
Juniors Four
Sophomores Four
By School
Ohio State Three
Michigan Three
Cal Two
West Virginia Two
Arkansas One
Baylor One
BC One
Clemson One
Florida One
Georgia Tech One
Mississippi One
Minnesota One
Penn State One
Texas One
Wisconsin One
For the complete AP All-America team selections, click here.

Posluszny and Jarrett were selected to the first-team for the second consecutive season Tuesday, joining Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden on the AP's honor roll.

Smith, the senior quarterback, is one of three Ohio State players on the first team, along with defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock and linebacker James Laurinaitis. Big Ten rival Michigan matched the Buckeyes for the most first-teamers with defensive end LaMarr Woodley, cornerback Leon Hall and offensive tackle Jake Long.

Smith and the top-ranked Buckeyes will play Florida in the BCS Championship Game Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz. The Gators were represented on the first-team by safety Reggie Nelson.

Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, who finished third behind Smith and McFadden in the Heisman voting, made the second-team.

Posluszny is the first Penn State linebacker to be a two-time AP All-American, quite a feat considering Linebacker U. has produced the likes of LaVar Arrington, Shane Conlan and Jack Ham.

Posluszny returned to Penn State for his senior season after injuring his knee in the Orange Bowl in January. Playing with a bulky brace and trying to adapt to a new position, Posluszny needed a few games to get comfortable in 2006.

"Things were a lot tougher this year," the senior said. "A little more complicated."

In 2005, Posluszny was dominant while playing outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense. To make better use of their personnel, the Nittany Lions shifted to a 3-4 set this season and moved the 240-pound Posluszny inside.

The first few games, Posluszny was healthy but not playing as well as he did last season.

Paul Posluszny also is a repeat winner of the Chuck Bednarik Award as national defensive player of the year.
"The knee was fine except the first couple of games they made me wear this really immobile brace. So that was a problem, but we got that taken care of," he said recently. "It was the position switch. I felt so comfortable playing outside linebacker. It was a little bit harder to get used to everything mentally."

Once he started getting the hang of his new gig, Poz was his old self.

Posluszny finished the regular season with 108 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles. He became the second two-time winner of the Chuck Bednarik Award as national defensive player.

Mississippi's Patrick Willis, the Butkus Award winner, is the other All-American linebacker.

Joining McFadden in the backfield is West Virginia's Steve Slaton, a sophomore, like McFadden, who was third in the nation in rushing at 144.4 yards per game.

Jarrett's season was complicated by an early-season shoulder injury that forced him to miss a game and limited him in several others. But when the 6-foot-5 junior was at full strength, he was USC's best weapon. He caught 58 passes for 773 yards and 10 touchdowns.

When not held back by a shoulder injury, Dwayne Jarrett was USC's offensive best weapon.
Georgia Tech's Calvin Johnson, another junior and big-time NFL prospect, is the other All-American receiver. He caught 13 touchdown passes.

Minnesota senior Matt Spaeth is the tight end. Long is joined on the offensive line by Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas, the Outland Trophy winner. Justin Blalock of Texas and Josh Beekman of Boston College are the guards and West Virginia's Dan Mozes is the center.

UCLA's Justin Medlock, who leads the nation with 26 field goals, is the first-team kicker, and California receiver DeSean Jackson, who returned four punts for touchdowns, was selected as an all-purpose player.

LSU's defense, the best in the Southeastern Conference, is represented on the first-team by defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and safety LaRon Landry.

Cal cornerback Daymeion Hughes, who picked off eight passes and returned two for TDs, and Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year Gaines Adams of Clemson complete the defense.

Baylor punter Daniel Sepulveda, after being a third-team All-American as a sophomore and a second-teamer last year, is a first-teamer this season.

Michigan led all schools with six players receiving All-America honors. Tailback Mike Hart, linebacker David Harris and defensive tackle Alan Branch made the second-team.

Ohio State had five players on the three teams, with guard T.J. Downing and receiver/returner Ted Ginn Jr. making the second team.

Florida had one player on each of the three teams. Cornerback Ryan Smith made the second team and linebacker Brandon Siler was a third-teamer.

James Lofton - Stanford's Token Interview - Stanford Fan Reactions

My recent post claiming that James Lofton was a "token" interview for the job of head coach at Stanford caused an energetic conversation over at "The Bootleg," the Stanford Football message board.

This is my post below and over at The Bootleg:

Posts: 5
(12/12/06 9:26:39 am)
Reply | Edit

James Lofton - Stanford's Token In The Coach Search.
Yep. I have sound reasons for this position. Hey, first of all, I'm an Old Blue -- a Cal guy -- but I'll be honest and say that I'll look for any opportunity to recommend an African American who's more than qualified for a head coaching position to anyone that represents any college, and that includes Stanford.

Right now, Stanford's looking for a head coach. They just interviewed Jim Fassel, who was at Stanford before and other than coaching John Elway -- which is huge itself -- didn't do much. Plus, that was a while ago.

Stanford also talked to San Diego wide receiver coach James Lofton. No offense to the once great NFL player, but he's Stanford's token black candidate right now, and that's pretty ugly. He's a Stanford alum, I understand. But he's not the guy who's going to be able to stack his resume against Fassel's and they -- Stanford -- knows it.

I wrote a blog post on this, as I'm pretty down regarding how this is developing ...it's here:


Living Legend
Posts: 5011
(12/12/06 6:07:54 am)
Reply Some thoughts.....

First... I'm not put-off that you're a Cal guy, it's a legitimate concern worth discussing.

The issue of inteviewing and hiring quality African-American coaches is an important issue to me -- and I'm not Black -- as it is to many other Stanford sports fans. We take great pride at being the only Div-1a school in the country to ever hire two African-American's to coach their footall program. You haven't forgotten Denny Green or Tyrone Willingham.

And yes, from the outside looking in, I can understand how an interview with James Lofton could be viewed as a token interview.

But here's the problem.... Bowlsby is keeping the interview process very close to his vest. The premium side of the website is very hard wired into the Athletic Department and even we don't fully know who has been interviewed and who hasn't. So, it's quite possible that other African-Americans have indeed been interviewed.

The media doesn't seem to know who has and hasn't been interviewd. Most stories refer to the rumor mill, and unconfirmed speculation.

We interviewed quality AA candidates two years ago when we hired Harris and five years ago when we hired Teevens. It's not an issue that Stanford takes lightly. You'll notice our men's basketball coach, Trent Johnson, is African-American.

Still, it's an issue worth monitoring closely. Hopefully, when the new football coach is introduced, questions will be asked, and answers will be made clear.

-Michael Forrset-

beeg dawg
Living Legend
Posts: 7644
(12/12/06 8:33:13 am)
Re: James Lofton - Stanford's Token In The Coach Search.
Well Zennie, you have a point. As far as we know, Lofton is the only AA interviewed up to this point. The AD has kept the process very quiet, and even back door sources are in the dark about who is being interviewed.

IMO, Stanford is interviewing candidates that don't fit for the the job. After the last two hires (failures) Stanford can't afford to wiff - and that means no OJT. We need a guy who is a head coach and will arrive on campus with (most of) his staff intact and ready to go.

I don't know if Lofton has all the skills required for the job, although others have assured me that he does. For me, he does not have the experience required.

From your blog post -

And don't -- before some of you do it -- give me that term "race card" as I'll immediately brand you as stupid.

I will gladly wear the stupid badge. Calling Lofton a "token" interview - implying he only got the interview because he is black - is playing the race card, regardless of how you spin it.

You may have the last word. I'm certainly not going to dignify your accusation with another response.

Gameday Standout
Posts: 412
(12/12/06 8:52:03 am)
Reply Re: James Lofton - Stanford's Token In The Coach Search.
Lofton isn't/won't be anybody's token.

Posts: 118
(12/12/06 8:55:55 am)
Reply Re: James Lofton - Stanford's Token In The Coach Search.
Black, white, brown, Croation, Zulu, Tamil Tiger, Martian...just win baby.

Four Heismans
Posts: 6
(12/12/06 8:59:21 am)
Reply Re: James Lofton - Stanford's Token In The Coach Search.
What about ucla's Walker? He could be a fine hire, and he's black. That would satisfy the adminstration/PC folks, and he appears to be a fine coach.

Hall of Famer
Posts: 3461
(12/12/06 9:05:40 am)
Reply Race card inuendos
BD, I'm going to tag team with you on this one.

Zennie, regarding race cards, how about this piece of writing from you?

(Well, they did pass on former USC and now Tennessee Titans Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow and the word on the street was because he's Asian. I hope the word's not a reliable source, but I wonder.)

The real word on the street on why Chow is not getting a college football HC job is because he is seen as less than a tireless worker, pretty bland personality, and standoffish in regards to alumni and recruits. These judgements have come from his previous college coaching assignments. He is just not seen as "high-octane" enough for the major BCS football programs to take a chance on him. None of the colleges that have considered him on a short list for a HC opportunity have questioned his Offensive Coordinator abilities, but they objectively are "worried" about him as Head Coach material. Yes, he is being "spurned", but if colleges thought he had high potential to be a successful head coach, they would hire him.

Posts: 4
(12/12/06 9:11:51 am)
Reply | Edit Re: James Lofton - Stanford's Token In The Coach Search.
In a high-profile settting like Stanford Athletics, all I'm saying is that it's a good idea to avoid appearances like the one of tokenism that appears here.

The Stanford hiring and interviewing process done in the past was under a different Athletic Director, not this one. What Bob should understand -- and I've met him -- is that there's an infrastructure of people who keep track of what colleges do in this area and report any terrible performance. The person who best does this is Dr. Richard Lapshek of the University of South Florida, and to whom I'm going to inform of the matter at Stanford.

I'm personally sick to my stomach of this knee-jerk desire to recruit any young Black man who plays football. You can't deny there's a problem. I'll bet that somewhere out there is a white running back who runs a 4.4 40 and yet hasn't been heavily recruited or even looked at by major colleges. The mental illness this society maintains that "slots" people based on skin color must be atttacked and destroyed at any turn.

My reason for attacking those who fall in my trap of using the term "race card" is because many don't understand why they use it, except that they heard someone else say it and agree with that other person's insecurities.

But the fact of the matter is the only way we're going to change how we and this society deal with race problems IS to talk about them or their appearance. The term "race card" was invented by a right-wing conservative during the "O.J. Trial" and it was used first by White Republicans on political talk shows and then spread from there. Today, it's rare to find someone Black using the term, unless that person is Rod Brooks over at KNBR. But it's common for someone to use it who's White. I hear it all the time.

This dynamic should be cause for alarm. We need to remove all of the ways we censor conversation in this area of race relations. And today, they are many tools of censorship, from the use of that term, to the constant habit the media has of removing racial descriptions of people in news stories, with the exception of crime and where a description is offered. So we are conditioned to view the World in a way that it really isn't because of this.

Posts: 5
(12/12/06 9:26:39 am)
Reply | Edit Re: Race card inuendos
I'm going to attack that one with gusto and take your tag team on.

How in the World could anyone even think that Norm Chow is bland? BLAND? How could they dream that his offenses would not be productive? That's a crock. Have you ever --- once -- seen him in a practice installing an offense? Do you realize that the use of option routes for running backs out of the backfield came from HIM at BYU and not Coach Walsh? Have you read any of Norm's coaching papers?

Norm's a veteran offensive coordinator who's just plain smart and the results of this we see each day -- Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Vince Young, Matt Castle, and on and on.

It's funny that Norm Chow doesn't get hired for -- man, this burns me -- the same reasons that someone in this thread criticized Tyrone Willingham for being in his personality. Yet, Tyrone has done well over his tenure, and in the case of Notre Dame was first looked over -- and arguably a token interview -- until he waved his hand agressively and said "Look at me!"

Look, people will come up with some weird reason to mask their real intentions -- you and I both know this. It's only when we start to analyze these actions over time that these inconsistencies are revealed. And then I for one ask questions.

It's for examples like this that I see NOW why there is a "word on the street." Look the sad -- and it's really sad -- reality is that there are two conversations: those that happen between people of color and those who are white and those that happen between people of color, period. It's there that the "word on the street" comes out.

Many people of color don't bother to share these ideas with anyone White, so consider this a rare treat. I do so because not to is to be phony, which I detest.

Posts: 120
(12/12/06 9:29:37 am)
Reply Re: James Lofton - Stanford's Token In The Coach Search.
Point made re the press. Do you think we can get beyond the media tip-toeing if Obama announces or will race get in the way of the public's perception of his ability, experience and vision?

Posts: 565
(12/12/06 9:37:37 am)
Reply Re: James Lofton - Stanford's Token In The Coach Search.

Posts: 6
(12/12/06 9:40:30 am)
Reply | Edit Re: James Lofton - Stanford's Token In The Coach Search.
I was really, really happy to see the reception for him in New Hampshire. Regardless of the future, Obama's already reached a first in that there's never been this kind of reaction to an African American elected official on a national stage. But I am an optimist. I think he can reach the Brass Ring of a victory. For all of my criticism, I do love what's happening in politics and I think America's ready for Obama. The question is what will the hot light of scrutiny bring? If Barack gets by that, he's golden.

James Lofton - Stanford's Token Interview In Coaching Search

Update - 12/13/2006: Stanford Alums and Fans unearth new news reports posted Wednesday December 13th that Stanford's approached other African American Candidates! Great news!

Update: Stanford Head Coaching Job Not Listed In Black Coaches Association Job Bank (as of this writing)

Hey, first of all, I'm an Old Blue -- a Cal guy -- but I'll be honest and say that I'll look for any opportunity to recommend an African American who's more than qualified for a head coaching position to anyone that represents any college, and that includes Stanford.

Right now, Stanford's looking for a head coach. They just interviewed Jim Fassel, who was at Stanford before and other than coaching John Elway -- which is huge itself -- didn't do much. Plus, that was a while ago.

Stanford also talked to San Diego wide receiver coach James Lofton. No offense to the once great NFL player, but he's Stanford's token black candidate right now, and that's pretty ugly. He's a Stanford alum, I understand. But he's not the guy who's going to be able to stack his resume against Fassel's and they -- Stanford -- knows it.

I'm writing this with some bite as I talked to a good friend of mine about the matter and he's a well-placed Stanford guy. I told him Stanford should talk with Bengals wide receiver coach Hue Jackson, who's been an offensive coordinator with Cal, USC, and the Washington Redskins. He's also black.

There's also Michael Haywood - Offensive Coordinator & Running Backs coach for Notre Dame. He's the guy who has as much to do with Brady Quinn's success as Charlie Weis, or so says Weis himself. Haywood's Black. There's also UCLA's Defensive Coordinator DeWayne Walker, who engineered the defense that destroyed USC. Well, that's going a little too far, but you get the idea -- he's Black.

My friend responded that Stanford should talk to James Lofton because he's Black and that was it. I told him that Stanford should talk to well qualified people who happen to be Black, and Hue Jackson's certainly in that category.

See, the reason I pressed this is that there's a common habit of talking to a Black person because they're Black and knowing all the time they're not the best, so they don't get the job.

Instead, I have to hear about Jim Harbaugh, and even from people like KNBR's Rod Brooks, who's Black, but is consistently afraid of taking on the matter of the hiring of Blacks to top sports jobs. If you listened to KNBR you'd think Brooks was actually scared to mention the matter. All the better to keep his job, I guess. Ah, the fear factor...

That's not good. Its really supports a kind of designed Affirmative Action: "Let's make sure we pick a White guy by not having anyone Black there who can really be the best hire, let alone hear from some rabble rouser who's going to push too many well-qualified black applicants at us because the Alumns don't want that." In fact, it is designed Affirmative Action. I also don't believe "The Alumns" are that stupid.

(Well, they did pass on former USC and now Tennessee Titans Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow and the word on the street was because he's Asian. I hope the word's not a reliable source, but I wonder.)

Stanford's Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby should be way beyond this and I'm disappointed it seems he's not. He should have a mile long list of candidates and many -- not just one -- of color. Hey, I'm grosing about this and will not let up. I told both my friend and Bowlsby about Jackson, and that was last week.

This is the 21st Century, right? Hello?

And don't -- before some of you do it -- give me that term "race card" as I'll immediately brand you as stupid. Race -- more appropriately skin color and the reaction to it -- is still a problem. Those who even try to use that term only do so to stop others from talking about it. It's a form of censorship. It's not going to work with me. Stanford needs to get out their and talk to more good Black -- and yeah, Black because many colleges openly go after Black running backs because they're Black -- applicants.

We've got to change for the better and now, not later.

Jim Fassel Interviews for Stanford Football Job - NY Times

Former N.F.L. Coach Fassel Interviews for Stanford Job

Published: December 12, 2006

The former N.F.L. coach Jim Fassel, who was credited with recruiting and coaching John Elway at Stanford as an assistant there, was interviewed for the Cardinal’s vacant head-coaching job in Chicago yesterday, according to a person with knowledge of the Stanford search.

Fassel, who was fired as the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive coordinator in October, coached the Giants for seven years, and he led them to the Super Bowl in January 2001.

He served as an assistant at Stanford from 1979 to 1983. While there, he coached Elway, the program’s hallmark player. Fassel still enjoys a strong relationship with Elway, and that could help Fassel’s chances.

Two years ago, when a reporter called Fassel to gauge his interest in the vacant Notre Dame job, he said that the only college job he would probably ever take was Stanford’s.

Montana Coach Bobby Hauck; the Hall of Fame receiver James Lofton, who is a Stanford graduate; and University of San Diego Coach Jim Harbaugh have also been interviewed for the job. Lofton is the wide receivers coach for the San Diego Chargers.

Hauck, a Montana graduate, was interviewed in Salt Lake City on Sunday.

Harbaugh, a former N.F.L. quarterback, was offered the Tulane coaching job in the past week but turned it down. Bob Toledo, the former U.C.L.A. coach, accepted the position.

Fassel failed as the Ravens’ offensive coordinator this year, his second season in the position. Since Fassel’s firing and the insertion of Ravens Coach Brian Billick as the play-caller, the Ravens’ offense has taken off and the team has won six of its past seven games.

Fassel had a career record of 60-55-1 with the Giants. But he has not landed another head-coaching job in the N.F.L. despite multiple interviews.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Troy Smith Wins Heisman

NEW YORK -- Four years ago, it seemed obvious that an Ohio State freshman would win the Heisman Trophy. Just not this freshman, not the guy who quarterbacked the scout team that prepared the Buckeyes to upset Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.

Tailback Maurice Clarett, the freshman star of that national championship team, is long gone from Columbus. Quarterback Troy Smith, the closest Ohio State had to an afterthought signee in February 2002, became the closest to a unanimous Heisman winner in the 71 years of the award on Saturday night.

"Now I am part of this elite group," said Smith, the fifth-year quarterback who has led Ohio State to the BCS Championship Game. "It humbles me."

Smith received 801 first-place votes cast by the national electorate. That is 86.7 percent of the votes, the highest percentage in history. In a season in which Ohio State played only one team after September that finished with a winning record, Smith's biggest rout came in the most prestigious individual competition in college football. Even the players who finished behind him, Arkansas sophomore tailback Darren McFadden and Notre Dame senior quarterback Brady Quinn, endorsed Smith.

Only O.J. Simpson's 1,750-point victory in 1968 was more lopsided than Smith's.
"I would have voted for Troy," Quinn said. "I really think he did a great job all year not allowing the pressure to get to him, doing a good job for his team and getting his team to the national championship game."

Notre Dame has been at seven Heismans and holding since Tim Brown won in 1987. For the second consecutive season, a school has pulled even with Notre Dame. Last year, it was USC. Now the Buckeyes have won their lucky seventh.

Quinn, McFadden and Smith entered the lobby of the Nokia Theater at 6:20 p.m. Smith looked resplendent in a charcoal three-piece suit with a scarlet pinstripe, a white spread-collared shirt and, naturally, a red and gray tie.

"I represent the colors," Smith said later, when asked about the tie. "I represent the university. I represent Ohio to the fullest. I wouldn't have it any other way."

The Buckeye quarterback's face lit up when he spotted Ohio State quarterback coach Joe Daniels and head coach Jim Tressel. He walked over, hugged each, and, smile on his face, glided toward the green room behind the stage.

Nearby, the Oldest Living Buckeye Heisman Winner had a hop in his step as he ambled across the theater lobby. In any other 72-year-old, that hop actually might be a limp. But the years melted away from Howard "Hopalong" Cassady when the 1955 Heisman winner began talking about Smith.

Smith has come a long way since being labled "athlete" -- not quarterback -- when he came out of high school.
"He's just an outstanding athlete and a great person," Cassady said. "He runs the team. He's got a great coach. He always talks about the team. I'm just tickled. I'm very proud of him. I'm proud to be his friend."

The Two-Time Buckeye Heisman Winner spoke with pride of the newest member of Ohio State's most exclusive club.

"Just like when Eddie won it," Archie Griffin said, referring to Eddie George, who won the Heisman in 1995. "I am just elated. It was a very, very emotional evening for me when Eddie won. He embodied the Heisman spirit: the hard work, the dedication, the commitment to excellence.

"Troy's got that. Nobody worked harder than Troy," said Griffin, the president of The Ohio State University Alumni Association. "And his leadership has been so impressive. The way the players rally around him, and look to him, you can see they're thinking, 'We know Troy is going to get us out of this.' That's a heck of a burden. And he does it. In that Michigan game he took some violent hits and he bounced right back up. He's special."

George sat in the audience at the Nokia Theater, as did Cassady, Griffin and 22 other Heisman winners -- 23, if you count Smith. He remained in control of his emotions, even as he admitted that his heart pounded against the wall of his chest. His coach, the unflappable Tressel, looked totally flapped as he hugged his team's leader. When the hug ended, Tressel's eyes remained wet.

"I would have voted for Troy. I really think he did a great job all year not allowing the pressure to get to him, doing a good job for his team and getting his team to the national championship game."
-- Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn
"Oh, my," Smith said. "If you get into a situation where you can shake and rattle him, you've done something."

Smith has done so much. He has overcome what he described as "the mean streets of Cleveland," a childhood that included four years of foster care while his mother proved incapable of caring for him. He has overcome taking $500 from a booster at Ohio State. Every hurdle placed before Smith -- some of which he placed himself -- he has overcome. The only one left in his career at Ohio State is the national championship game against the Florida Gators.

"With change comes responsibility," Smith said. "Definitely with accolades comes responsibility."

No one has changed more. And no one, after Saturday night, has more accolades than Troy Smith.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

USC Students Violate "The Laws Of Woofing" - Video

Before the USC UCLA game, which UCLA won, USC students were captured on video going against the Laws of Woofing. Here's the video:

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bernie Kosar Interested In Miami Job

Miami television station WFOR reported Tuesday night that Kosar would like the job, and The Miami Herald quoted Kosar in its Wednesday editions saying "I'm interested."

"UM people knew that I had been offered the president of the Cleveland Browns job," Kosar told the newspaper. "They knew I wanted to get back into football and asked if I'd be interested in the UM job. At first it was just flattering, but then I thought, 'Yeah, I'd really like to look into it."'

Kosar, who told the newspaper that he's had preliminary talks with university officials about replacing Larry Coker as coach of the Hurricanes, did not immediately return e-mails or phone messages from The AP on Wednesday.

Kosar has no coaching experience, but he often serves as a mentor to quarterbacks at Miami, where he serves as a university trustee. He retired from the NFL after a 12-year career with the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.

Coker was fired last month after Miami finished a 6-6 regular season, dropping his six-year record at the school to 59-15. He will coach the Hurricanes in their bowl game Dec. 31 against Nevada.

Several candidates are in the mix to replace Coker, including Miami defensive coordinator Randy Shannon and Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, both of whom have had discussions with Hurricanes athletic director Paul Dee about the vacancy.

Other potential candidates reportedly include Texas Christian coach Gary Patterson and West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez, who has also been mentioned as a possible replacement for Mike Shula at Alabama.

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano -- a former Miami assistant -- said earlier this week that he was not interested in the Miami job.

Kosar was a fan favorite as the Hurricanes quarterback from 1983 to 1984, leading Miami to a national championship as a freshman, beating Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. The Browns got him in a supplemental draft after he graduated early with a dual degree in finance and economics.

Kosar threw 124 touchdown passes in his NFL career, with 87 interceptions.

It was a turbulent season in Miami -- with the biggest blow being the death of Bryan Pata, who was shot and killed outside his off-campus apartment complex on Nov. 7.

Even before that, a top wide receiver was suspended for much of the season after getting involved in an altercation with two women, a player was shot in an alleged robbery attempt where another teammate returned fire at the purported assailants, and the Hurricanes were involved in an on-field brawl with Florida International which resulted in the suspension of 31 players, 13 from Miami.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

BCS Controversy

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Dec. 3) - Michigan coach Lloyd Carr says there's one certain outcome of the upcoming Bowl Championship Series selections: controversy.

Carr was asked on his weekly TV show if uncertainty about who should face Ohio State in the BCS championship further makes the case for a playoff system. He responded by saying "I think it's going to be a great controversy, I don't care who gets selected."

Carr passed on a chance to lobby for his team, which lost to Ohio State during the regular season.

Michigan is back in the title game mix after Southern California lost to UCLA yesterday 13-9. Florida also has title game hopes after beating Arkansas 38-28 in the SEC championship game last night.

The BCS picks are expected to be announced around 8PM Eastern. Eastern

UCLA Beats USC, Mixes-Up BCS Championship Race

As I predicted a few days ago, UCLA did beat USC and placed a monkkey-wrench into BCS title forecasts and the BCS system. Here's a recap of the game.

Associated Press

PASADENA, Calif. -- Southern California's dejected players trudged off the Rose Bowl field, oblivious to the celebration going on around them.

Their national championship hopes had just ended with the biggest upset of the season.

UCLA knocked No. 2 USC out of the Bowl Championship Series title game with a stunning 13-9 victory over its crosstown rival Saturday. The Bruins did it with a vastly improved defense and a quarterback starting on three days' notice.

"Give credit to UCLA. They made it a difficult day," said USC coach Pete Carroll, whose team lost for just the fourth time in its last 59 games. "They kept us from doing what we wanted to do. We had no rhythm. We did not anticipate this happening."

Neither did most fans of either team. The Trojans hammered the Bruins 66-19 last season to lock up a second straight appearance in the BCS title game, and figured to win again, if not by such a one-sided score, to make it three in a row.

It wasn't to be, even though USC came in averaging 32.3 points a game.

Besides having their national championship hopes ended, the Trojans (10-2, 7-2 Pac-10) had their NCAA-record streak of 63 games in which they had scored 20 or more points snapped.

And a lot of the credit goes to UCLA's first-year defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker, a former Washington Redskins assistant. It was his schemes the Trojans were unable to solve.

"I didn't believe it until the clock hit zero," UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said. "All we wanted to do was stay close and get a chance to win. I know how important this win is for the Bruin family. I know that it's been a long time."

Since 1998, to be exact. The Trojans had beaten the Bruins seven straight times. Before that, UCLA beat USC eight times in a row.

The Bruins only sacked USC quarterback John David Booty twice, but they had him on the run throughout and forced him to throw several balls away. And they held Trojans star Dwayne Jarrett to four catches for 68 yards.

"We gave them a lot of different looks," Walker said. "If we confused Booty, that would take care of Jarrett."

The strategy worked to perfection.

"Their offensive line was real wide-eyed," UCLA defensive end Bruce Davis said. "People said we're small. That's all right. We were big enough to knock Booty on the ground."

Jarrett said his timing was affected by the Bruins' pass rush.

"They did a great job or switching up their defensive schemes and bringing pressure," he said.

Minutes after the game, and with a crowd of 90,266 still roaring, UCLA's Junior Taylor, Chris Markey and Dennis Keyes jumped the bandstand, grabbed cheerleaders' megaphones and led the delirious fans in cheering for the upstart Bruins.

Patrick Cowan passed for 114 yards and ran for another 55 as UCLA paved the way for a Michigan-Ohio State rematch or an Ohio State-Florida matchup for the national championship Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz.

As Pac-10 champions, the Trojans will return to this same field on New Year's Day and play in the Rose Bowl game. The final BCS standings and bowl pairings will be announced Sunday.

The Trojans moved into position for a potential game-winning touchdown before Eric McNeal deflected and then made a diving interception of Booty's pass at the UCLA 20-yard line with 1:10 remaining. It was USC's only turnover of the game.

"What a great way to go out in your senior year playing your last game in the Rose Bowl," Dorrell said. "To finish your last game with an interception like that . . . I'm sure he'll tell his kids someday how it ended and how he made the stop."

The Trojans got one final shot, but Booty's desperation pass from the USC 12 with six seconds left fell incomplete, and the celebration was on.

No. 1 Ohio State locked up its berth in the BCS title game by beating then-No. 2 Michigan 42-39 two weeks ago in the regular-season finale for both teams. USC moved ahead of the Wolverines in the BCS standings last weekend after beating Notre Dame 44-24.

Florida beat Arkansas 38-28 Saturday night in the SEC championship game.

"I really hate it for the seniors more than anybody," said Booty, a fourth-year junior. "The Rose Bowl is still a big-time game we are glad to be in that and we're going to play our hearts out in that as well. But it is tough when you know what could have been."

The Bruins (7-5, 5-4), winners of three straight, will face Florida State in the Emerald Bowl on Dec. 27 in San Francisco.

The game was delayed briefly with 5:52 remaining after a UCLA punt, when the Bruins gathered for a team huddle a couple of yards onto the field. USC decided to do the same thing, and seconds later, the players began bouncing up and down and waving their arms, triggering offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

The coaches and officials made the players keep their distance.

USC then moved to the Bruins' 18 before McNeal's game-clincher on a third-and-four play.

Dorrell decided Wednesday that the more mobile Cowan, who had started UCLA's previous six games, would get the call over Ben Olson, who started the first five games but hasn't played since tearing a knee ligament Oct. 7. Dorrell had said two days earlier that Olson would get start if he seemed to be up to it in practice.

Cowan completed 12 of 21 passes and carried 10 times. Booty completed 23 of 39 passes for 274 yards and the one costly interception.

Justin Medlock kicked a 22-yard field goal with 5:45 left in the third quarter and a 31-yarder with 8:49 remaining in the game for the only scoring of the second half.

USC got an opportunity late in the third period when Michael Pitre couldn't handle a swing pass from Cowan that was ruled a lateral, and Sedrick Ellis recovered at the UCLA 44 for UCLA's only turnover. But C.J. Gable was thrown for a 4-yard loss by Christian Taylor and Alterraun Verner on fourth-and-2 from the 36.

The Bruins then moved into position for Medlock's second field goal. He leads all Division I-A kickers with 26 field goals in 30 attempts.

With defensive ends Davis and Fred Hickman pressuring Booty just about every time he tried to pass, the Trojans were held in check until a 1-yard run by Gable with 51 seconds left before halftime capped a 66-yard, 12-play drive and put them on top 9-7.

But USC wouldn't score again.

The Bruins moved 91 yards on their third possession for a 7-0 lead, scoring on Cowan's 1-yard run. Cowan scrambled three times for 54 yards earlier in the 11-play drive. He entered the game having netted 49 yards on 37 carries this season.

"Coach Dorrell told me that if I could make some plays with my feet, I should do it," Cowan said.

After Greg Woidneck's punt was downed at the UCLA 1 early in the second period, a holding penalty against Robert Chai in the end zone resulted in a safety, and that turned out to be the difference at halftime.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Wake Forest Captures ACC Championship

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Wake Forest's defensive players huddled near the sideline, pushing and shoving, yelling and screaming, jumping and dancing.

They were trailing 6-3 and ready to do something about it. Riley Swanson did.

Wake Forest
In games decided by 8 points or less
Year Record
2006 5-0
2005 2-2
2004 2-6
2003 1-3

Swanson intercepted a pass from Reggie Ball on the next play, sparking a comeback that gave Wake Forest its first Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 36 years and sent the Demon Deacons to their biggest bowl game in school history.

Riley Skinner followed Swanson's pick with long completions on consecutive drives, setting up Sam Swank's final two field goals that gave No. 16 Wake Forest a 9-6 victory over 23rd-ranked Georgia Tech in the ACC title game on a rain-soaked Saturday.

"When you get our backs against the wall, these kids respond," Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said.

Skinner, who grew up in Jacksonville, finished 14-for-25 for 201 yards in his homecoming -- and may have had the biggest cheering section in the half-empty stadium. He struggled most of the game and was sacked four times, but he came up big when the Demon Deacons needed it most.

He hooked up with John Tereshinski for a 39-yard gain on third-and-10, setting up Swank's second field goal, a 33-yarder with 8:27 to play. The kick tied the game at 6.

On the next possession, Skinner found Willie Idlette down the middle for a 45-yard gain, setting up a 22-yarder that turned out to be the game-winner.

The Demon Deacons (11-2) won their second league title and first since 1970, adding another chapter to an improbable season in Grobe's sixth season. The finale comes in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2 -- the program's biggest bowl game since the 1946 Gator Bowl.

"I can't even put it in words," said linebacker Jon Abbate, who finished with 15 tackles. "It's been an unbelievable season. Unbelievable to be ACC champs, and I can't explain it."

Georgia Tech (9-4) had a chance to tie the game or take the lead, but punted when coach Chan Gailey opted not to go for it on fourth-and-13 from his 18 yard-line.

It was one of several questionable calls for Gailey, who went for it on fourth-and-1 from Wake's 13-yard line in the third quarter. Ball failed to pick up the first down on a quarterback sneak.

Gailey also ordered a field goal early in the fourth quarter instead of attempting a fourth-and-1 play on Wake's 17 with the game tied at 3. Tech also called a reverse in the first quarter on third-and-1. The play resulted in a 9-yard loss.

"Obviously, it's my responsibility to get this football team ready to play and we didn't do well enough today to win the game," Gailey said.

Nonetheless, the blame will be put on Ball, and maybe rightfully so.

He was awful for the second consecutive week. He was 9-of-29 passing for 129 yards, with two interceptions. He was 6-of-22 for 42 yards last week in a loss against rival Georgia and threw two interceptions.

The senior refused to talk after the game.

"I think with every quarterback, every time you can get pressure and get contact on him, you get in their head a little bit," Abbate said.

Ball's best passes were three deep balls down the sideline that resulted in pass interference penalties.

Tashard Choice ran 21 times for 100 yards, and Calvin Johnson caught eight passes for 117 yards. But Johnson also had two key drops. The second one came on a deep pass that he tipped into the hands of Swanson for the game-turning interception.

"That was huge," Grobe said. "That was right after the defense got so pumped up. That's where I looked over to the defense and I expected to see them tired and kind of sucking wind. They were dancing around and bumping into each other and ready to go."

Georgia Tech will return to Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl in four weeks -- something Gator Bowl officials had hoped to avoid.

ACC commissioner John Swofford even said at halftime that the Gator Bowl would be allowed to select another conference team, essentially giving the bowl permission to overlook a rule that would force the bowl to select Georgia Tech (7-1 in conference play) over Clemson, Boston College or Maryland (all 5-3 in the league).

But the Gator Bowl relented after a week of complaints and invited Georgia Tech back following the game. The Yellow Jackets accepted and probably will face either defending national champion Texas or a team from the Big East.

Wake Forest, meanwhile, will head to Miami.

"I think it's a great opportunity for us to prove one more time what this team is about," Abbate said.

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