Coach Speak: Rumors & News

Coach Speak: Rumors & News

Former Wisconsin OL coach Miller hired at NMSU

Bart Miller named New Mexico State offensive line coach. (Photo: Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)

Bart Miller will be New Mexico State o-line coach. (Photo: Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ormer Wisconsin offensive line coach Bart Miller has been named offensive line coach at New Mexico State.

Last season, Miller was in his second year as a graduate assistant at Wisconsin when he was promoted to offensive line coach.

The Badgers had one of their worst rushing performances in years against Oregon State in week two, gaining just 35 yards on 23 carries and scoring only seven points in a 10-7 loss.

Bret Bielema promptly fired coach Mike Markuson and promoted Miller.

“There wasn’t a lot of time to think about it,” Miller said. “We had to get ready to go.”

Slowly but surely the Badgers’ line came around.

Wisconsin gained 467 yards on the ground vs. Purdue and a few weeks later rushed for a school-record 564 yards and seven touchdowns at Indiana. In the Big Ten title game, Wisconsin piled up 539 yards on the ground and eight touchdowns in a 70-31 rout of Nebraska.

“He got us all back on one page, got us all together as a unit instead of five individuals, which we lost there for a little bit,” sophomore offensive tackle tackle Rob Havenstein said. “We started getting back to trying to be the best in the country.”

The turnaround helped Miller earn the title of Big Ten’s Best Assistants by ESPN.com.

“Obviously, with his experience in taking a team all the way to the Rose Bowl is a big plus for our program,” interim NMSU head coach Doug Martin said in a release. “We are excited to have Bart (Miller) as a member of our staff.”

A native of Omaha, Neb., Miller played his college ball at the University of New Mexico. He worked in the Chicago Blackhawks’ front office before becoming a graduate assistant at New Mexico State in 2010.

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Schefter: Derek Dooley to the Cowboys

Report: Dooley will be Cowboys' wide receiver coach. (Photo: AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Report: Dooley will be Cowboys’ wide receiver coach. (Photo: AP Photo/Wade Payne)

On Friday, we joked that  former SEC head coaches Gene Chizik and Derek Dooley had found employment. We noted that the work – serving as guest analysts during ESPNU’s coverage of National Signing Day – was very temporary.

Well, it looks like one of those two has found something that will at least last longer than one day.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter says that the Dallas Cowboys will hire former Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley as wide receivers coach.

Schefter’s report came via Twitter early Saturday evening:

schefter_tweet

Dooley was fired after a 4-7 season in which the Vols finished 0-7 in the SEC. In three years at Tennessee, Dooley compiled a 15-21 record and was just 4-19 in conference games. Prior to his stint in Knoxville, Dooley was head coach at Louisiana Tech from 2007-09 where he had a 17-20 record.

Dooley and Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett are good friends and coached together during Dooley’s only NFL gig. The pair worked under Nick Saban on his Miami Dolphins teams from 2005-06, with Dooley coaching tight ends and Garrett serving as quarterbacks coach.

Before his stint with the Dolphins, Dooley coached with Saban at LSU for five seasons. He served as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator from 2000-2002 and running backs and special teams coach from 2002-04.

A former walk-on wide receiver at the University of Virginia, Dooley coached receivers at SMU from 1997-99.

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Pelini to recruit: "Best of luck, you're going to need it"

Bo Pelini (Photo: Rebecca S. Gratz/Omaha World-Herald)

Bo Pelini (Photo: Rebecca S. Gratz/Omaha World-Herald)

Bo Pelini’s temper has gotten him in hot water before, and if Dominic Walker’s account of a recent conversation is accurate, Pelini doesn’t reserve his frustration for the sidelines or the post game press conference.

On Friday, Walker, a three-star wide receiver recruit from Orlando, Fla., switched his commitment from Nebraska to Auburn.

Walker originally committed to Vanderbilt back in the summer, but visited Nebraska in late September and flipped to the Cornhuskers a couple of months later.

Walker said his earlier change of heart made the decision to switch to Auburn especially difficult, and he wanted to call Pellini and Husker wide receiver coach Rich Fisher to inform them of his decision personally.

According to the Orlando Sentinel:

“It was a very tough decision. They were [mad]. They were very mad. But I thought I had to call them like a real man shoould,” Walker said. “But yeah, they were mad. Coach Pelini said, ‘Best of luck, you’re going to need it.’ ”

Wide receivers coach Rich Fisher also was in on the call.

“Coach Fisher said, ‘I can’t believe you,’ ” Walker said. “It was really awkward.”

Pellini’s frustration is understandable, but he should’ve kept the snide remarks to himself. After all, Walker de-committed from Vanderbilt before he chose Nebraska in the first place, so it’s hard to believe Pelini and Fisher felt too good about the strength of Walker’s bond.

The Friday decision and phone call wasn’t the first sign that Walker was wavering.

Since his hiring at Auburn in early December, Gus Malzahn made Walker and his high school teammate Tony Stevens (also a highly recruited wide receiver) a priority. The pair bonded with Malzahn and Tiger assistant Dameyune Craig and made official visits to Auburn last weekend. Just after the visit, Stevens switched his commitment from Texas A&M to Auburn, while Walker told reporters that he was torn between the Tigers and Huskers.

Pelini and Fisher made an in home visit to Walker early in the week, and according to a report from AuburnSports.com, Walker hinted that their pitch may have turned him off.

“The visit was about how much of an impact I would make for their class, it was a good visit,” Walker said. “But they were trying to bring up the bad things about why I shouldn’t go to Auburn. They were trying to tell me the bad things — trying to persuade me why I should go to their school. But I didn’t understand that. They can say anything, but it’s been two or three years since Cam Newton and nothing has happened.”

In the end, Walker said that everything worked out for the best. He’ll get to play closer to home, alongside his high school teammate.

“There’s more opportunity for my family to see me play because it’s closer to home and there’s a better chance for me to go in and play right away, which is what I was looking for all along,” Walker said. “Plus, I get to play another four years with my teammate Tony and that’s great … everything is just great.”

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Norvell turns down Bears, will remain at OU

The Oklahoman is reporting that co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell has turned down an opportunity to join the Chicago Bears.

As we reported Wednesday, Norvell interviewed with the Bears this week. The interview apparently went well, and he was reportedly offered a position but decided to remain in Norman.

Jay Norvell has apparently turned down an offer from the Chicago Bears. (Photo: Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman)

Jay Norvell has apparently turned down an offer from the Chicago Bears. (Photo: Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman)

Norvell worked with new Bears head coach Marc Trestman with the Oakland Raiders in 2002-03. Trestman was the Raiders’ offensive coordinator while Norvell coached tight ends. Aaron Kromer, hired last week by Trestman as the Bears’ offensive coordinator, coached Oakland’s offensive line during that time.

Norvell has been on Bob Stoops‘ Oklahoma staff since 2008, and held his co-offensive coordinator position the past three seasons. He is considered the Sooners’ No. 1 recruiter.

Norvell coached four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts (1998-2001). He served as Nebraska’s offensive coordinator from 2004-06 and held the same position at UCLA in 2007.

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Bisaccia to Dallas, Malzahn shuffles AU assistants

We reported yesterday that Auburn assistant Rich Bisaccia was mulling over an opportunity to join the Dallas Cowboys. Bissacia has decided to accept the Cowboys’ offer.

Bisaccia was to serve as AU’s assistant head coach, running backs coach, and special teams coordinator and would have made $500,000 this year. He will be Dallas’ special teams coach. Details of the Cowboys contract are not yet available, but sources indicate Bisaccia will get a salary bump.

Gus Malzahn, who said in a statement that Bisaccia “had an offer that he felt he could not turn down,” will do some staff shuffling to fill the void.

Gus Malzahn and Gene Chizik

Gus Malzahn and Gene Chizik

Tim Horton will move over to running backs coach and Scott Fountain will shift from an off-the-field position to tight ends coach and special teams coordinator.

Horton, who coached running backs at Arkansas from 2007-11, was slated to coach tight ends at Auburn. That job will now fall on Fountain’s shoulders, who will also coach special teams.

“I’m excited that Tim will be coaching our running backs,” Malzahn added. “He has a tremendous track record coaching some great backs and I’m extremely confident that will continue here at Auburn. Scott is someone I tried to hire as an assistant coach a year ago at Arkansas State. He is a great coach with a tremendous work ethic, and his strong ties in the state of Alabama will be an asset to our program.”

Fountain was tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator under Gene Chizik at Iowa State in 2007-08.  He was retained by Paul Rhoads after Chizik left for Auburn, and then left to manage off-the-field football and recruiting operations for Chizik at Auburn.

Sources indicate that Fountain had been working hard since Chizik’s firing to once again find an on-the-field coaching position.

An Alabama native, Fountain began his college coaching career at Central Florida in 1997, starting as interior offensive line coach and co-recruiting coordinator before becoming offensive tackles/tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator.

Fountain left Central Florida to become offensive line coach at Middle Tennessee State in 2004-05 and then offensive line coach and assistant head coach at Georgia Southern (2006) before joining Chizik at Iowa State.

Malzahn also took Twitter this afternoon to wish Bisaccia the best and welcome Fountain back to an on-the-field position.

malzahn_twitter

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Two former SEC coaches on ESPNU Signing Day Special

Two of the four fired SEC coaches have found work, albeit very temporary. Former Auburn coach Gene Chizik and Tennessee’s Derek Dooley will serve as guest analysts during ESPNU’s 10-hour live coverage of National Signing Day.

Chizik and Dooley will join studio hosts Rece Davis and Dari Nowkhah, ESPN football recruiting analysts Tom Luginbill and Craig Haubert, and college football analysts Mike Bellotti and Rod Gilmore for the 24-hour college sports network’s coverage of football recruiting’s biggest day of the year.

Gene Chizik will be back on ESPN. (Photo: ESPN)

Gene Chizik will be back on ESPN. (Photo: ESPN)

Both Chizik and Dooley were fired from their schools in December following losing seasons. Despite his serious demeanor and penchant for canned answers while at Auburn, Chizik actually did a decent job as guest analyst during coverage of the 2012 National Championship Game, and Dooley’s wit and candor have always made many of his meetings with the media worth watching.

Coverage begins Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 9 a.m. ET on the U. According to ESPN, there will be live announcements from “at least 17″ of the nation’s top recruits.

ESPNU will have 13 reporters on campus providing live updates and interviews with coaches throughout the day. Those reporters and their locations are:

  • Alabama (Tom Rinaldi)
  • Auburn (Paul Carcaterra)
  • Clemson (Eamon McAnaney)
  • Florida (Cara Capuano)
  • Florida State (Jeannine Edwards)
  • LSU (Holly Rowe)
  • Michigan (Josina Anderson)
  • Notre Dame (Bob Holtzman)
  • Ole Miss (Allison Williams)
  • Ohio State (Quint Kessenich)
  • Texas (Longhorn Network: Lowell Galindo)
  • Texas A&M (Pedro Gomez)
  • USC (Shelley Smith)
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Coley's switch will impact sidelines, high school hallways

As we reported last night, Florida State offensive coordinator James Coley had an offer on the table for the same role at Miami.

Today, Coley, who had strong ties to both Miami and Florida State (he’s from Miami and graduated from FSU), made the decision to become a member of Al Golden’s staff.

Contract details have not yet been released, but the offer was reportedly for $500,000/year. Florida State was apparently willing to match Miami’s financial package, but sources close to the situation indicate FSU couldn’t match the Canes on two other fronts. The first – and most important – of those being the ability to call plays. Coley was intimately involved in FSU’s game-planning, but on Saturdays, it was Jimbo Fisher’s show.

James Coley (Photo Noles247.com)

James Coley (Photo Noles247.com)

That same source says the second thing working in Miami’s favor was the ability for Coley to now try and “lock down” the prime south Florida recruiting region working for the hometown school. Coley was already a dominating recruiting force in the area, and he believes that will only be magnified when he’s entering schools wearing orange and green. South Florida kids love The U, and as good as he was before, odds are that he’ll be even better convincing them to head to Coral Gables.

Two good examples of hometown Miami recruits where the weight of Coley’s switch could be felt immediately are Booker T. Washington High standouts Matthew Thomas and offensive tackle Denver Kirkland. Thomas, a five-star linebacker, and Kirkland, a four-star offensive tackle, were both thought to be the Noles’ to lose before Coley’s move. (Coley already had a teammate, defensive back Michael Johnson, committed to FSU.) Both Thomas and Kirkland were strongly considering Miami before Coley’s switch, and his departure may be enough to push the pair the Hurricane’s way.

From Florida State’s perspective, Fisher has a history of hiring talented, hard-working recruiters, and there’s no way FSU will concede anything to Miami and there new offensive coordinator. But make no mistake, Coley is a huge get for Golden and the Hurricanes any way you slice it, and his flip will only add more fuel to an already intense rivalry in the halls of south Florida’s high schools and beyond.

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