Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ask the Professors #3

My apologies to our readers and contributors for being so tardy with the release of this post. We have all had a very busy last couple of weeks, and my Wife and I have just completed a move to a new home. We are back on track, and in the coming days will be coming up with a new set of questions. We did have a question in regards to Rick Neuheisel and his lack of a DC hire, so I will warn you that this had not happened when the questions were issued, but the guys worked hard at the answers, so I will leave them intact.
Our contributors this week were as follows: Kody Bannon of kodyssportscorner.com, Cory Hedin of @Ute_Red_Zone, Matt Chandik of the Delaware County Times, and Me. I hope you enjoy this delayed piece, and I hope that you will enjoy the future of this promising series.

Former Texas Tech Red Raiders Head Coach Mike Leach was a candidate for the Miami Hurricanes, Maryland Terrapins, and Minnesota Golden Gophers coaching vacancies following the end of the 2010 college football season. He was passed over for all three openings. Has his suing Texas Tech University resulting in Leach being blacklisted from coaching in the FBS?

Cory Hedin: Short answer, YES. Although I believe it has more to do with influence from boosters than an unwillingness by Athletic Directors to hire him. Imagine how the boosters of Texas Tech all feel right now. They generously opened up their walets and made financial contributions to Tech's athletic department, and then a part of that money, instead of being toward the betterment of Tech athletics, was used to help defend Tech against Leach's lawsuit. Probably not exactly what most boosters had in mind when they wrote the check. However, I believe that Leach will eventually coach division I football again. It may take a couple more years and an underachieving team hoping to make some noise. The thing about college football is, if a coach can help a team win, everything else eventually gets swept under a rug.

Kody Brannon: I think it is a combination of his lawsuit against Texas Tech and ESPN have resulted in him being deemed a hiring risk by other major universities. Eventually when all his litigation is over, some school will probably risk it and hire him. But in the mean time, he needs to either try to find a coordinator job or look at a lower level school for coaching jobs.

Matt Chandik: I doubt it. Leach is too good of a coach to not find work eventually. Once his legal situation is settled one way or another, it's hard to envision a school not picking him up.

Scott Bilo: Leach invented the term "baggage" when it comes to hiring a coach. When he was still actively employed at Tech, it always seemed like his eye was on another prize, which is what made it so easy for Gerald Myers to drop the hammer on him, and it's no secret that the two of them weren't singing eachother's praises in public. Leach was connected to open jobs at BYU and UCLA amongst others, and he was verified as having interviewed for both of those jobs. Leach is an acquired taste. He is quirky, and sometimes downright obnoxious, in other words, a tough sell to the folks writing the checks, as they cannot control him. If New Mexico could have afforded to buy out Mike Locksley, Leach would already be coaching the Lobos right now, and that may still wind up being the case, as most higher profile jobs seem unlikely landing spots for the Pirate.

CBS Sports NFL Football Broadcast Game Commentator and former New York Giants QB Phil Simms tried to physically attack 1991 Heisman Trophy winner and current ESPN college football studio analyst Desmond Howard over Howard's criticism of Phil's son and University of Tennessee QB Matt Simms during Super Bowl Week in Dallas. Since both Simms and Howard make their living sometimes criticizing players, is Simms out of line?

Cory Hedin: Well of course he was out of line. In this day and age when we have so many legal ways of beating a person to a pulp (boxing, ultimate fighter, MMA, ect), Simms went about this all wrong. If he really wanted a piece of Howard, he should have simply challenged him to step into the cage for a charity fight. Even if Howard refused to fight, Simms looks cool in the public eye. If Howard were to agree to fight, there are plenty of current and former professional athletes with ties to New York that Simms could call to get some "magic vitamin" shots (aka steroids). Either way, as long as the fight was for charity, Simms comes out on top. Silly Phil, whatever were you thinking?

Kody Brannon: Simms was very much out of line, while I understand him wanting to defend his sons honor, Simms criticizes players every week and gives his opinions about them at every interview and broadcast. While most people would do what he did, if given the chance, nobody ever attacks him and he needs to realize that there was no personal malice in Desmond’s comments. It was just him doing his job.
Matt Chandik: Simms was absolutely out of line. The fact is that his son is not an SEC-caliber QB. He just isn't good enough and of the SEC quarterbacks that started more than a game or two last season, Simms was one of the worst. Don't like it, Papa Simms? Tell your kid to suck less.

Scott Bilo: Easy answer: Hell yes he was out of line. He came off as a total hypocrite given his line of work where he gets payed to crtitcize and analyze. Desmond Howard gets paid to do the same thing, What makes it even worse is that Howard was right about Matt Simms. He is garbage in comparison to the other QBs in the SEC, and that's saying something as the SEC really is not a great QB conference. 60% of SEC QBs are not very good, so he is actually in solid company. Simms needs to get a thicker skin, and maybe spend more time as a former NFL QB helping his son to play better football. Moron.

The UCLA Bruins have not hired a Defensive Coordinator since they fired Chuck Bullough shortly after the end of the 2010 season. With spring practice less than two months away, would the Bruins be better off promoting a current defensive position coach who the players are familiar with and can run the same 4-3 defense as they did last season?

Cory Hedin: To be honest, slick Rick knows that unless he gets a "homerun" hire here, he is gone an hour after the last game of 2011. Even then, Rick is on thin ice. I would imagine that Rick will keep trying to lure a big name in for as long as he can to try to show his AD and boosters that he is doing everything he can to be successful. The promotion of a current defensive coach to the position of DC to me would be a sign that no big name defensive coach is willing to work for a coach that is very likely to not be around after next season. If that were to happen, while the Rick Neuheisel era would not officially be over, it would be as if a very large woman were standing at the 50 yard line warming up her voice to start singing.

Kody Brannon: If they can’t find a solid big name replacement in the next month or so, then the best move would be to hire from within. Just because by that point you would be able to excite the kids with a coach they know and trust.

Matt Chandik: Absolutely. Most of the prime defensive coordinators are off the market with the exception of Randy Shannon, so in this case, give a position coach a shot and see what the guy can do.

Scott Bilo: Those who know me well know my feelings on this. Nobody wants the job, and Rick has scapegoated all of his best assistants over what are essentially his failings as a coach. Nobody wants the job, because it is a one year assignment working for a guy who spends all of his time covering his own sorry ass. The candidates also don't want to coach there because the kids also all know that the end is near for Neuheisel, and nobody wants to commit to what is a lame duck staff. He can hir whomever he chooses, as it's just a wasted exercise at the end of the day unti a new coach is named after the 2011 season ends and NEuheisel's career comes to a resounding end. There's always the lawyer biz Ricky.

With Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada leaving for the Mountain West Conference, can the Western Athletic Conference survive without it's four best football teams?

Cory Hedin: The WAC, which was already one of the weaker of the conferences in Division I football. The loss of its four best teams will be extremely hard to overcome. Karl Benson has his work cut out for him as he ponders how to save his conference from dissolving into obscurity. In my opinion, the only way the WAC survives is to try to find some FCS team that is ready to make the transition to the FBS level.

Kody Brannon: I think it can and will survive, but it will not be a well known conference anymore. The best it can do to compete is along the lines of the sun belt. Until one of those teams can start making a name for itself, it will just be a weak conference.

Matt Chandik: Sure. It may take some time, but a non-AQ conference tends to be more cyclical than BCS conferences.

Scott Bilo: Not a chance. We are seeing the dying days of a once proud conference, and truth be known, the signs of decay have been long evident. Going back to the late 90's when the WAC was a super conference that then degenerated when the original WAC members formed the Mountain West the writing was on the wall. If the answer to losing Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, and Hawaii is the additions of Texas State and Texas-San Antonio, then the end is most definately near. There is not one single power broker left in this conference, and it will be the re-creation of the old Big West Conference. That league too twisted in several directions before finally obliterating itself, and several members of the WAC were members of that league as well. Most of the remaining members of the league will have much hard thinking to do, and will pray very hard for further Mountain West expansion, because there simply is no other spot for them. And remember, this is a league that Montana has turned down, if that tells you anything.

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