2013 February

Monthly Archives: Feb 2013

The Coaching Wire: Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013

Steve Spurrier and all of his assistants have received contract extensions since season's end. (Photo: John Raoux/AP)

Steve Spurrier and all of his assistants have received contract extensions since season’s end. (Photo: John Raoux/AP)

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]teve Spurrier was given a two-year contract extension in December. Now, it’s his assistants’ turn.

The University of South Carolina Board of Trustees approved two-year contracts for Deke Adams, Kirk Botkin, Grady Brown, Shawn Elliott, G.A. Mangus, Joe Robinson, Everette Sands and Steve Spurrier Jr. All are signed through the 2014 season.

Defensive Coordinator Lorenzo Ward was given a three-year contract and is signed through the 2015 season.

Earlier this month, Elliott, who is in his fourth year on Spurrier’s staff, interviewed for the offensive line opening at Alabama but chose to remain at South Carolina.

“Whenever you have an outstanding season as we have had each of the past two years, it’s important to reward the coaches with two-year contracts. Hopefully, we can continue that success in the coming years,” Spurrier said in a statement.

Adams, the Gamecocks’ defensive line coach, was hired from North Carolina in January. Botkin, Brown, Robinson and Sands joined the staff prior to the 2012 season. The other coaches have all been at Carolina five or more years.

“Coach Spurrier and his staff have propelled us into a Top Ten program and we appreciate what they have done at Carolina,” said athletic director Ray Tanner. “Our coaching staff is among the best in the country and their new contracts compensate them accordingly.”

Ex-Oregon quarterback Nate Costa returns to the Ducks as a GA

Nate Costa, who played quarterback at Oregon from 2006-10, will return to the program as a graduate assistant.

A string of knee injuries hampered what appeared to be a promising playing career. After playing in two games as a freshman in 2006, Costa missed the 2007 season with torn ligaments. He was named the starter going into 2008, but missed all of that year after suffering another knee injury in the pre-season . He was able to come back and play parts of two more seasons before a third serious knee injury ended his career in November of 2010.

A brief stint working in law enforcement was also cut short by his knee problems. Since then, he has been a television analyst for Comcast SportsNet.

“It’s been a long road to what I want to do,” Costa said. “I loved the TV work, but I missed the competition factor. And I really like watching young players develop and improve. I’m so excited about this opportunity to get into coaching.”

Costa played under new Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich in 2009-10 and knows life as a graduate assistant won’t be glamorous.

“I’ll be doing a lot of the stuff the assistant coaches don’t want to do,” Costa said with a smile. “A lot of film study, breaking down the film and data entry.”

Kent State’s Clark promoted to run game coordinator

Kent State coach Paul Haynes has promoted Shawn Clark to run game coordinator. Clark joined the staff in early January as the offensive line coach. His name was recently mentioned in conjunction with the offensive line opening at West Virginia, who ultimately hired Stanford’s Ron Crook. Prior to Kent State, Clark spent four seasons as the offensive line coach at Purdue and six seasons as the offensive line coach at Eastern Kentucky.

Newberry’s Cedric Williams adds assistant head coach title

Newberry’s Todd Knight has added the assistant head coach title to offensive line coach Cedric Williams. Williams, an all-SEC offensive lineman at South Carolina, is entering his third season at Newberry. He came to Newberry after one season as the offensive line coach at Mississippi Valley State (2010). Before that, Williams was offensive line coach at Tennessee State (2009).

Aaron Price named offensive coordinator at Hawaii

Hawaii has hired Aaron Price as offensive coordinator completing Norm Chow’s offensive staff.

Price will coach wide receivers while  11-year NFL player Chris Naeole, who joined the staff Feb. 11, will coach the offensive line. Returning coaches Phil Rauscher and Chris Wiesehan, will oversee the tight ends and running backs, respectively.vChow will continue to coach the quarterbacks with assistance from new graduate assistant Jordan Wynn. In addition, Keith Uperesa will move to director of player personnel.

Price comes to Hawaii after spending the past nine seasons on his father Mike’s staff at UTEP. From 2004-06, he was quarterbacks and kickers coach and moved over to wide receivers and kickers coach in 2007. Since 2008, he has served as offensive coordinator, quarterbacks and kickers coach. Prior to UTEP, Price was the quarterbacks coach at Washington State from 2001-02.

Charleston Southern’s Chadwell tabs Mark Tucker as quarterbacks coach

Mark Tucker has been named quarterback coach on Jamey Chadwell’s staff at Charleston Southern. Tucker coached Chadwell at East Tennessee State, where Tucker coached the offensive line one season and running backs and tight ends for two years. Tucker spent six seasons as an assistant at The Citadel, serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Most recently, he was the head coach of the Mountain Empire Warriors, a semi-pro football team in the NAFL and was also head coach Hargrave Military Academy.

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Purdue names Rubin Carter defensive line coach

Veteran coach Rubin Carter is the new defensive line coach at Purdue. (Photo: Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun)

Rubin Carter is the new defensive line coach at Purdue. (Photo: Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun)

[dropcap]P[/dropcap]urdue has officially announced Rubin Carter as defensive line coach.

Carter joins Darrell Hazell’s staff after spending last year a Towson. Before that, he spent three seasons as defensive line coach at New Mexico (2009-11).

A former NFL player and coach, Carter also spent three seasons as the head coach at Florida A&M from 2005-07.

“I love what coach Carter brings to Purdue,” Hazell said. “He is a 12-year NFL veteran with over 25 years of coaching experience on all different levels. He has been a head coach, spent seven years with three NFL teams and coached on the college and high school levels. He is a great man that our players will learn a tremendous amount from both on and off the field.”

Carter’s other stops as a collegiate assistant include Temple (2004-05), Maryland (1997-98), San Jose State (1995-96) and Howard (1989-93). In the pros, he served as defensive line coach with the Denver Broncos (1987-88), Washington Redskins (1999-2000) and New York Jets (2001-03).

Carter played nose tackle at Miami (Fla.) in the early 70’s and was named All-American in 1974. He was a member of two Super Bowls teams with the Broncos during a 12-year professional career.


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Report: Arizona State offensive line coach Bob Connelly dismissed

Arizona State offensive line coach Bob Connelly has reportedly been let go. (Photo: Dave Seibert/The Republic)

Arizona State offensive line coach Bob Connelly has reportedly been let go. (Photo: Dave Seibert/The Republic)

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]rizona State head coach Todd Graham has let go offensive line coach Bob Connelly.

Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic confirmed the news via Twitter.

According to Haller, Sun Devil assistant Chris Thomsen is the likely replacement. Thomsen was hired by Graham for the second time in January. His title had been running backs coach.

Thomsen was originally hired by Graham in December 2011 but left ASU the following February to become offensive line coach at Texas Tech, where he spent the 2012 season.

Whether Thomsen switches to the offensive line will depend on who Graham chooses to hire. He is reportedly considering both offensive line and running back candidates.

Connelly joined Graham’s staff in Dec. 2011 after spending four seasons at UTEP. He was the Miners’ offensive Line and also held the associate head coach and co-cffensive coordinator titles.

Prior to UTEP, Connelly was at UCLA for one season (2007) after four years at Alabama.

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The Coaching Wire: Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013

Ex-Virginia defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator has been hired at James Madison. (Photo: JMU)

Ex-Virginia defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator has been hired at James Madison. (Photo: JMU)

Bowling Green’s Clawson hires Robert Neviaser as linebackers coach

Bowling Green head coach Dave Clawson announced that Robert Neviaser will be the Falcons’ linebackers coach. He replaces Clark Lea, who was hired at Syracuse last month. Neviaser spent the past two seasons at Stony Brook, serving as the team’s defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. Before that, he spent three years at Rhode Island (2007-09) and five seasons at the University of Delaware (2002-06).

Ex-Virginia assistant Hanson hired as defensive line coach at James Madison

Former Virginia defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Jeff Hanson has been named defensive line coach at James Madison. Hanson was let go by Cavalier head coach Mike London in December following a 4-8 season. He spent three years at Virginia.

“I am really happy we have been able to attract Jeff Hanson to coach our defensive line,” Dukes’ head coach Mickey Matthews said.  “After coaching against him for many years, we are fortunate to have him on our sideline.”

Hanson has 39 years experience at the collegiate level including 28 at fellow CAA rival Richmond. His career includes stints at Richmond (’71-’79, ’89-’06, and ’08-’09), VMI (’07), West Texas State (’87-’88), Southwest Texas State (’83-’86), Lamar (’82-’83) and Marshall (’80-’81).

Mark Watson, Jr. named receivers coach at Western Illinois

Western Illinois head coach Bob Nielson has named Mark Watson, Jr. the Leathernecks’ wide receivers coach. Watson spent last year at USC as a graduate assistant coach for the Trojans in the secondary. Before that, Watson spent two years at Drake as cornerbacks coach where he worked with Western Illinois defensive coordinator Brian Ward in 2011.

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Ex-Ohio State assistant Jim Bollman hired at Michigan State

Former Ohio State offensive coordinator Jim Bollman will be OC at Michigan State. (Photo: Toledo Blade)

Former Ohio State offensive coordinator Jim Bollman will be OC at Michigan State. (Photo: Toledo Blade)

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ichigan State head coach Mark Dantonio will name Jim Bollman as the Spartans’ offensive coordinator, according to a source.

Bollman was named offensive line coach on Darrell Hazell’s staff at Purdue in January. He was offensive line coach and running game coordinator at Boston College in 2012 after spending 11 years at Ohio State as offensive coordinator and line coach.

He will replace Dan Roushar, who left for the New Orleans Saints.

Bollman and Dantonio worked alongside one another from 2001-03 when Dantonio was defensive coordinator at Ohio State. Those three Buckeye teams went 31-7, including a 13-0 season and a BCS National Championship in 2002.

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Recruiting rankings of the 2013 NFL Draft Class

The SEC is well known for turning out defensive linemen, but it actually produced a higher percentage of linebackers in  the 2013 draft class. (Photo: AP)

The SEC is known for turning out defensive linemen, but it actually produced a higher percentage of linebackers in the 2013 draft class. (Photo: AP)

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith the NFL Combine in the books, we thought it might be interesting to take a closer look at the draft class of 2013 to see where they came from and how they were ranked out of high school.

We logged the high school hometowns and Rivals.com rankings of all 333 combine participants, and found some interesting geographic, position and ranking trends.

How the combine participants were ranked by recruiting experts

The table below looks at Rivals.com’s recruiting rankings for the 2009 class and compares the number of combine participants for each ranking:

Rivals Rank Total Players # at Combine % of Combine % of Rivals
5-stars 35 20 6% 57%
4-stars 400 108 32.4% 27%
3-stars 1295 107 32.1% 8.2%
2-stars 2000 56 16.8% 2.8%
Not ranked 42 12.6%

(Note: Because of redshirts and early NFL entries, there are combine participants from three classes — 2008, 2009 and 2010. The majority are from the recruiting class of 2009, so those are the totals we used. Assuming that the number of redshirts, early entries, etc. holds relatively steady from year to year, the percentages should still be close enough to be relevant.)

As the table above shows, the vast majority of combine participants were three and four-star rated prospects. However, on a relative basis, four and five stars were dramatically more likely to develop into draft-quality players. Even though we don’t have any data from other years or other recruiting services to draw more detailed conclusions, clearly, the experts at Rivals are doing their job of identifying the most talented football prospects.

On a position-by-position basis, Rivals.com’s rankings were significantly better at predicting the best quarterbacks, running backs and linebackers. Fifty-six percent of combine quarterbacks were four or five-star prospects out of high school, while 52% of running backs and 51% of linebackers were either four or five-star recruits. At those three positions combined, only four combine participants were not rated at all, and no quarterbacks were unrated.

On the other hand, recruiting rankings weren’t a good predictor at all for offensive linemen. Only 19% of combine invitees were four or five-star rated recruits out of high school. Meanwhile, 38% were rated two stars or not rated at all.

Conference and geographic indicators

The SEC gets tons of press for producing superior defensive linemen, and while that is true, the SEC’s relative percentage of draft-worthy linebackers (34%) is actually even higher than the defensive line (30%).

The trend is even stronger when looking at where the players went to high school. Despite accounting for just 22% of the nation’s population, the ten Southern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee accounted for 50% of combine linebackers (17 of 35) and 37% of defensive linemen (20 of 54).

Another strong geographic trend was the state of California’s dominance in producing skill position players. Thirty-two percent of tight ends, 31% of quarterbacks, 17% of running backs and 10% of wide receivers hailed from the Golden State.

Along with California, Florida (23%) and Texas (14%) dominated the production of running backs, with those three states home to 54% of all combine rushers. Texas (17%), California (15%) and Georgia (13%) combined to produce 45% of defensive backs, and Texas and Florida led the way in wide receivers, accounting for 18% and 15% of receivers, respectively.

Junior college transfers

Twenty-three combine participants were junior college transfers, or 6.9% of the total. Roughly 6.5% of the players who sign Letters of Intent each year are JC transfers, so, at least for 2013, the odds that a junior college player is considered likely to be drafted are virtually identical to those of prospects coming out of high school.

There were position trends where junior college talent excelled relative to the high school prospects and vice versa.

Junior college offensive and defensive lineman were significantly more likely than JC transfers at other positions to become draft-likely. Fourteen percent of all offensive linemen (18% of offensive guards) and 11% of all defensive linemen were Juco transfers. Wide receivers (8%), defensive backs (7%) and tight ends (5%) were close to the overall junior college average.

However, of the 55 quarterbacks and running backs at the Combine, just one was a junior college transfer. Perhaps even more surprising, just one of the 35 linebackers came through the Juco ranks.

The takeaways

Recruiting rankings mattered, mostly. When it came to quarterbacks, running backs and linebackers, getting Rivals.com four and five stars definitely made a difference. Highly-rated prospects at those positions were far more likely to develop into NFL-level talent.

On the flip side, don’t pay too much attention to recruiting rankings for offensive linemen. Only one five-star offensive lineman (D.J. Fluker of Alabama) even received a combine invite.

The SEC ruled the defensive front seven. Not only did the SEC produce the best defensive lineman, but it dominated the entire defensive front seven. In addition, the Southern states produced the most defensive linemen, but relatively speaking, they were home to an even greater number of top-flight linebackers.

Three states produced the best skill players. If you were looking for the best skill players – especially quarterbacks and tight ends – California was the place to go. For running backs, Florida was tops, and Texas and Florida produced the best wide receivers.

Junior college talent was hit or miss. The best talent coming out of junior college was along the offensive and defensive lines, which probably isn’t much of a shock. But, at least for the draft class of 2013, junior college linebackers, quarterbacks and running backs were much less likely to develop into NFL-quality players.

ALSO SEE: The 2013 NFL Combine: Where are they from?

[colored_box color=”grey”]For breaking news, be sure to follow us on Twitter: @CFScoop[/colored_box]

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The Coaching Wire: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013

Former Virginia Tech quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain may be the leading candidate to be offensive coordinator at James Madison. (Photo: Roanoke Times)

Former Virginia Tech quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain may be the leading candidate to be offensive coordinator at James Madison. (Photo: Roanoke Times)

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ormer N.C. State head coach Mike O’Cain looks like the favorite to be the offensive coordinator at James Madison. Hal Mumme was offered the position, but turned it down and is expected to join June Jones‘ staff at SMU this week. O’Cain, who coached the Wolfpack from 1993-99, was quarterbacks coach at Virginia Tech since 2006 before he was let go in January.

Curt Newsome, another Hokie assistant who was let go in January, was named James Madison’s offensive line coach earlier this month.

Kurt Beathard will be receivers coach at Youngstown State; completes staff

Kurt Beathard will be wide receivers coach at Youngstown State, completing Eric Wolford’s staff. Beathard was offensive coordinator at Gardner-Webb last season, and coached wide receivers at Illinois from 2007-09. The son of former NFL GM Bobby Beathard, he replaces Andre Coleman, who left to become wide receivers coach at his alma mater, Kansas State.

Lyle Hemphill promoted to defensive coordinator at Stony Brook

Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore promoted defensive backs coach Lyle Hemphill to defensive coordinator. Hemphill is in his second season at Stony Brook and has extensive CAA experience, serving two different stints with Delaware. He replaces Rob Neviaser, who left for Bowling Green.

South Florida’s Tagger promotes Holt; adds two new support staff members

South Florida coach Willie Taggert has promoted one support staff member to an on-the-field position and added two new support staff. Former director of player personnel Stu Holt will move to special teams coordinator. Paul Gonnella has been hired to fill Holt’s former role, while former USF player Marquel Blackwell has joined the staff as director of player development.

Holt has worked with special teams on numerous occasions throughout his coaching career, including stints as the special teams coordinator at Western Kentucky in 2005 and 2009.

Gonnella spent the 2012 season as director of player personnel at Alabama and was previously as a defensive graduate assistant and quality control assistant at Mississippi State. He has also worked with high school programs in Mississippi, Georgia and Massachusetts.

A four-year standout quarterback for USF from 1999-2002, Blackwell served on the Bulls’ coaching staff as a program assistant from 2009-11. He spent last season as a graduate assistant at Western Kentucky under coach Taggart. Prior to his first stint on the USF coaching staff, Blackwell served as the head football coach at Freedom High School in Tampa from 2007-08.

Carroll McCray announces completed Gardner-Webb staff

Gardner-Webb head coach Carroll McCray has announced the Bulldogs’ complete coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Dale Steele spent the past seven years as head coach at Campbell. Defensive coordinator Randall McCray most recently spent a season as special teams coordinator and outside linebackers/safeties coach at Pittsburgh under Todd Graham.

Six of the nine coaches spent the 2012 season with McCray at North Greenville, three on offense – Kenny Ray (assistant head coach and offensive line), Brett Nichols (quarterbacks) and La’Donte Harris (receivers) – and three on defense – Issac Mooring (defensive line), Brett Hickman (outside linebackers, special teams) and Rocco Adrian (cornerbacks).

Inside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Travis Cunningham, has been with the Gardner-Webb program since 2001.

Stanford’s Shaw makes Morgan Turner hire official

Stanford head coach David Shaw officially introduced Morgan Turner as the Cardinal’s tight ends coach. We reported that Turner’s hiring yesterday.

Duke announces Boyette as running backs coach, other staff moves

David Cutcliffe has formally announced former player Re’Quan Boyette as the Duke’s running backs coach. We reported Boyette’s promption in last Thursday’s Wire. A former Blue Devil team captain, Boyette served as a graduate assistant last season.

With Boyette’s addition, Zac Roper shifts from coaching the running backs to tight ends and will assume the roles of both special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator. Derek Jones will become Duke’s assistant special teams coordinator in addition to defensive backs coach.

Cutcliffe also announced that both John Latina and Kurt Roper have added the assistant head coach titles while Latina also has been named the running game coordinator. Latina’s name was mentioned in several offensive line openings the past couple of months.

Longtime Penn State assistant tabbed as Western Michigan o-line coach

Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck has named longtime Penn State assistant Bill Kenney as the Broncos’ offensive line coach. Kenney began as a graduate assistant for the Nittany Lions in 1988 and worked with the offensive line from 1989-2011. He took on the role of recruiting coordinator in 1992-95 and worked directly with offensive tackles and tight ends from 2000-11.

Neil Callaway named offensive line coach at Western Kentucky

Veteran coach Neil Callaway has officially been named offensive line coach on Bobby Petrino’s staff at Western Kentucky. Most recently, Callaway served as the head coach at UAB from 2007-11. He was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Georgia from 2001-06. Callaway has served as an offensive line coach at three different schools in the Southeastern Conference, including Auburn, Alabama and Georgia during his 33-year career. He replaces Mike Summers, who was hired at USC last week.

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