NCF Nation: Dan McCarney

Stats that matter: North Texas-Texas

August, 27, 2014
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Are you ready for some numbers? It's time once again for our weekly stat digs, in which we team with ESPN Stats and Info to find the numbers that matter most for the Longhorns and their next opponent. Here are the stats to remember going into Texas’ season opener against North Texas (7 p.m. CT, Longhorn Network).

No. 1: 101.6

Charlie Strong admitted on the Big 12 coaches' teleconference Monday there's one number he cares about (after the final score) when he's handed the postgame stat sheet: Rushing yards allowed.

His defense at Louisville led FBS in run defense last season, allowing just 81.5 yards per game. Texas gave up an average of 183.1 rushing yards per game a year ago. You better believe Strong and defensive coordinator Vance Bedford intend to close that 101.6-yard gap as much as possible in 2014.

In the past four years, only one Big 12 defense has given up fewer than 100 rushing yards per game: The 2011 Longhorns, who held teams to 96.2 yards per game on the ground.

For what it's worth, and maybe not much, Georgia's defense did hold North Texas to 7 total rushing yards on 25 attempts last year.

No. 2: 123

We know very little about North Texas starting quarterback Josh Greer, a juco transfer who spent 2012 at UAB and 2013 at Navarro College. He's seen as a guy who has some similar traits to the successful guy he replaces, Derek Thompson, and he was a 63.5-percent passer at Navarro. He's a bit of an unknown otherwise.

But we do know he'll be protected by an offensive line that, on paper, looks impressive with 123 career starts among the five starters. Cyril Lemon, a first-team All-CUSA guard last year, moves from right tackle and has 37 career starts. He's one of four senior starters along with Mason Y'Barbo (37 starts), Antonio Johnson (34) and Shawn McKinney (2).

Texas players think they have the best defensive line in the Big 12, if not the nation. Those boasts will be put to the test Saturday as they try to rattle a QB making his first college start.

No. 3: 434

When you talk about David Ash's best games as Texas' starting quarterback, his 2013 season opener against New Mexico State doesn't usually get brought up. But in his only compete game of that injury-wrecked season, Ash accounted for 434 total yards (343 passing, 91 rushing) and offered an appealing glimpse of what he might've been able to do had he stayed healthy.

Texas struggled to get rolling until late in the second quarter, but Ash got the offense to open up from there. He threw for four touchdowns, busted off a 55-yard touchdown scramble and showed poise in the second half to guide an offense that put up a school-record 715 total yards.

North Texas should be a better foe than NMSU, which went on to finish 2-10 with the fourth-worst scoring defense in the country. But will we see a version of Ash that's as good or better than the one that showed up in last year's opener?

Three more to remember

Eight: The number of kicks North Texas blocked last season, most in FBS. Four were blocked punts. Against Georgia last year, UNT blocked a punt for TD and also returned a kickoff for a TD.

Two: North Texas coach Dan McCarney coached the defensive line on Strong's Florida defenses for two seasons, in 2008 and 2009.

35-21: The score of North Texas' last game against a Big 12 program, a loss at Kansas State in 2012. UNT is 7-57 all-time against the Big 12 but 0-9 in the past decade.

Heart of Dallas Bowl preview

January, 1, 2014
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Say hello to a couple of teams who haven't been bowling in a while.

North Texas and UNLV each haven't been to a bowl game in years, and both struggled in 2012, but both are back in the postseason and they'll meet today in the Heart of Dallas Bowl presented by PlainsCapital Bank (ESPNU, noon ET).

Here's a quick preview of the game:

Who to watch: UNLV senior quarterback Caleb Herring has thrown for 2,522 yards while posting a nice touchdown-to-interception ratio of 22-to-4. Rebels running back Tim Cornett possesses a lot of ability and has shown it by compiling 1,251 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Devante Davis has hauled in 77 passes for 1,194 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Rebels. On special teams, keep an eye on North Texas' Brelan Chancellor, who won the Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Year and is one of the top return specialists in the country.

What to watch: Don't leave your seat when the special teams are on the field. North Texas has scored five touchdowns on special teams, tied for the most in the FBS. Three of those have been the result of blocked punts. Offensively, the Mean Green have scored 378 points, second most in school history (they're averaging 31.5 points per game). UNLV has a quality offensive attack with Herring, Cornett and Davis leading the way and will be tested against a North Texas defense that allows only 355.5 yards per game (27th nationally). Meanwhile, the UNLV defense needs to play better, after allowing 31.5 points per game during the regular season.

Why to watch: Who knows when you'll see these teams in a bowl game again? It has been a long drought for both programs. The last time UNLV played in a bowl game was 2000. For North Texas, that drought goes back to 2004. Both are enjoying nice turnarounds, also. UNLV was 2-11 last season and has seen a five-game improvement to 7-5; while the Mean Green were 4-8 last year but have flipped that to 8-4. Both programs appear to be on the upswing under their respective coaches, Bobby Hauck at UNLV and Dan McCarney at North Texas.

Prediction: North Texas 30, UNLV 27. North Texas gets somewhat of a home-field edge based on location, with the game at the historic Cotton Bowl in Dallas, which isn't far from the Mean Green's home of Denton, Texas. They also have the better defense of the two squads, but the offensive skill players that UNLV offers will present the Mean Green a significant challenge. Still, I'll go with North Texas pulling out a close one.

Successful coaches forced out: Big 12

August, 16, 2013
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In the eyes of some critics, Mack Brown is sitting on a seat far warmer than he realizes.

ESPN Insider's Phil Steele says Brown is the No. 1 coach on the hot seat entering 2013, and there is a faction of the Texas fan base that agrees and believes Brown’s best days are behind him. But if history tells us anything about canning coaches, the grass isn’t always greener.

Brown’s contract runs through 2020, and he isn’t looking to retire any time soon. He’s 27 victories away from becoming the winningest coach in school history. Will he reach that milestone?

A look at the recent history of successful Big 12 coaches being shown the door reminds us that a new hire brings no guarantees of success. And there might not be a better example of that than the man considered the league’s best coach today.

[+] EnlargeMack Brown
Cal Sport Media/AP ImagesWill Mack Brown get a chance to become the all-time winningest coach at Texas?
Coach on the bubble: Mack Brown, Texas

Big 12 precedents: Bill Snyder, Kansas State; Dan McCarney, Iowa State; Chuck Reedy, Baylor

Bill Snyder, 170-85-1 at Kansas State

Prior to his arrival: The list of coaches who came before Snyder is a long one, but the last to win more games than he lost at Kansas State left in 1934 after one season. Snyder’s predecessor, Stan Parrish, coached the Wildcats for 33 games and won two. The team was mockingly called “Futility U” before Snyder’s debut, and had lost more games than any program in college football history.

Why he resigned: The white-haired wizard was everything to Kansas State and achieved the most improbable rebuilding job college football has ever seen. But there reached a point in time, even after four Big 12 North titles, where KSU was ready to move on, in 2005. Leadership thought that after consecutive losing seasons, Snyder’s heart just wasn’t in it to go another season, even if he was hesitant to surrender the throne.

The aftermath: In came Ron Prince, the 36-year-old Virginia offensive coordinator who had no ties to the KSU program. His best season was his first, and after consecutive 5-7 seasons, he was fired in November 2008 -- after agreeing four months earlier to a contract extension through 2012. Snyder heroically returned, and you know the rest.

Some believe Brown, 61, is getting old. Snyder was 66 when he was ousted. He was named 2012 Big 12 Coach of the Year at age 73 and got a new five-year deal this past offseason.

Dan McCarney, 56-85 at Iowa State

Prior to his arrival: No, the track record of McCarney at Iowa State is not even close to what Brown has achieved at Texas. But no coach won more games at ISU than McCarney, who enjoyed five winning seasons in six years (2000-2005) and nearly won the Big 12 North outright twice. His predecessor, Jim Walden, retired after going 0-10-1 in 1994 and finished his ISU tenure with a record of 28-57-3. No Cyclones coach had won a conference title since 1912.

Why he resigned: McCarney led the Cyclones to five bowl games, but the 2006 season went downhill and he stepped down. At the time he announced his decision, ISU was 0-6 in Big 12 play.

The aftermath: Iowa State got as sexy a hire as it could have hoped in Texas defensive coordinator Gene Chizik. Then, after going 5-19 in two seasons, he bailed on the Cyclones for the Auburn job. Paul Rhoads has done a respectable job in Ames, with three bowl games in four seasons. McCarney is entering his third year as head coach at North Texas. His record there isn’t great (9-15), but the Mean Green at least appreciate that they’ve got a good coach.

Chuck Reedy, 23-22 at Baylor

Prior to his arrival: Yes, this is a bit of an obscure choice. Baylor had a solid, competitive program during the 21-year tenure of the great Grant Teaff and enjoyed winning records in eight seasons of his final decade in charge. When he retired, BU offensive coordinator Reedy was promoted to the head gig.

Why he was fired: Replacing Teaff wasn’t easy. The Baylor administration wasn’t happy with some aspects of Reedy’s coaching style, including recruiting high-risk players who were unlikely to qualify. But what sealed his fate was going 1-7 in conference play in the Big 12’s inaugural year and losing four straight to end the 1996 season with a 4-7 record.

The aftermath: Baylor didn’t know it was signing up for a decade of futility when it canned Reedy. His replacement, Dave Roberts, went 4-18. The three coaches that came after Reedy went a combined 30-94 and finished last in the Big 12 South eight straight years. Art Briles has led an impressive rebuild, but he inherited enough of a mess that it took five years to get his career mark at Baylor above .500 (32-30).

I know what you’re thinking. We’ve left out three coaching departures that are considered some of the biggest in recent Big 12 history: Barry Switzer, Mark Mangino and Mike Leach.

Considering Switzer resigned amid a flurry of scandal and NCAA probation, and Mangino and Leach departed after allegations of player abuse, they’re not all that applicable to Brown or any current Big 12 coaches. But in the cases of Kansas and Texas Tech, who enjoyed unparalleled rises under Mangino and Leach, respectively, and haven’t been the same since, it’s another reminder that you never know what you’ll get when you let a successful coach go.
Hey, I see you Big 12 fans with your recency bias.

"Kansas! Turner Gill's team last season was the worst in the history of the Big 12!"

Yes, those Jayhawks were one of only six teams in Big 12 history to go winless in conference play, and this year's Jayhawks have a chance to make it seven if they don't beat West Virginia on Saturday.

The 2011 team lost six games by at least 30 points and the historically bad defense gave up at least 59 points on four separate occasions. However, those same Jayhawks led a 10-win Baylor team led by Heisman winner Robert Griffin III by 21 points early in the fourth quarter and ran up a 20-point lead on Texas Tech early in the season. They also lost to Iowa State by only three points and beat the MAC champion, Northern Illinois.

Still, I hate to break it to you. Do the research, and you'll find that KU team was probably the best winless team in Big 12 history. Not exactly an accomplishment that will do much except get the coach fired, but on ESPN.com today, we're taking a look at some of the worst teams in the history of the game. Here's how I'd rank the worst teams in the history of the Big 12:

1. 1999 Baylor (1-10, 0-8 Big 12)
Coach: Kevin Steele
Win: 23-10 vs. North Texas
Lowlights: The Bears were in Year 1 of Steele's four-year tenure that peaked with a three-win campaign in 2002. I give these Bears my seal of approval as the worst team in Big 12 history. They lost to Boston College and UNLV in nonconference, and the closest they got to any Big 12 team all season was 20 points, and even that game was in the season finale against Oklahoma State. Along the way, they suffered losses of 62-0 (Texas), 37-0 (Colorado) and 48-7 (Nebraska).

2. 2003 Iowa State (2-10, 0-8 Big 12)
Coach: Dan McCarney
Wins: Northern Iowa, Ohio
Lowlights: This was an oddly awful season sandwiched between four seven-win seasons for McCarney, the best coach in Iowa State history before Paul Rhoads arrived in 2009. ISU lost to Northern Illinois out of conference and had by far the worst finish of any team on this list. In its final five games, it scored seven points twice in blowout losses to KU and Mizzou, and was shut out by Nebraska and K-State. It did score 10 points in a 34-point loss to Colorado, though! ISU came within 21 points of only one Big 12 team that season, losing 40-19 to Texas.

3. 1997 Iowa State (1-10, 1-7 Big 12)
Coach: Dan McCarney
Win: 24-17 vs. Baylor
Lowlights: These Cyclones are the only team on this list with a conference win, but they're a team that deserved special consideration. They went winless in nonconference play with losses to Wyoming (46 points!!), Minnesota (34 points) and Iowa (43 points). They came within seven points in the season opener against Oklahoma State, but suffered a handful of humiliating losses, including a 77-14 beatdown against Nebraska. Missouri (24 points), Texas A&M (39 points) and Kansas State (25 points) all continued the parade.

4. 2002 Kansas (2-10, 0-8 Big 12)
Coach: Mark Mangino
Wins: Southwest Missouri State, Tulsa
Lowlights: This was the first season on the road to an eventual BCS bowl for Mangino. The former OU offensive coordinator had a tough start, getting blasted by Iowa State by 42 points to kick off the season. They also suffered losses to UNLV and Bowling Green. The Jayhawks came within three points of Baylor, but no other Big 12 game was decided by fewer than 24 points. They also suffered a 64-0 loss to K-State and a 45-7 loss to Nebraska.

5. 2007 Baylor (3-9, 0-8 Big 12)
Coach: Guy Morriss
Wins: Rice, Texas State, Buffalo
Lowlights: This was the final season for Morriss at Baylor, and the Bears didn't come within 20 points of winning a Big 12 game. BU kicked off the season with a 27-0 loss to TCU but suffered 31-point losses to Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma to close the year and the Morriss era, ushering in the Art Briles era in Waco. The Bears lost to BCS-bound KU by 48 points that year and suffered a 38-point loss to a Ron Prince-coached Kansas State team.

6. 2008 Iowa State (2-10, 0-8 Big 12)
Coach: Gene Chizik
Wins: South Dakota State, Kent State
Lowlights: Chizik parlayed his 5-19 career record into a head job at Auburn and a national title before being fired earlier this week after a winless season in SEC play. The Cyclones were bad, but far from hopeless. ISU lost its final 10 games, including a loss to UNLV, but also had three Big 12 losses decided by a single possession. It did lose games by 42 (Oklahoma State), 32 (Mizzou) and 28 (Nebraska and Baylor).

Big 12 predictions: Week 3

September, 13, 2012
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Time for another set of predictions after a rough time in Week 2.

Let's get it started.

Last week: 5-3 (.625)

Season record: 14-3 (.824)

No. 15 TCU 44, Kansas 17: If Kansas had looked impressive last week against Rice, this would have looked like a very dangerous game for Big 12 newbie TCU. But the Jayhawks lost, giving Rice its first-ever win over a Big 12 opponent. Inexcusable. TCU's defense still has a lot to prove, but KU won't be able to slow down TCU on the ground or through the air, even at home.

Oklahoma State 51, Louisiana-Lafayette 24: The Ragin' Cajuns will be an interesting test for Oklahoma State's defense, which suddenly is offering plenty of reason for doubt. The offense should be fine, though, as long as the receivers tighten up and help quarterback Wes Lunt out by not dropping passes. Lunt racked up 436 yards last week in his first road start, and only one of his three interceptions was his fault.

No. 8 West Virginia 61, James Madison 13: Another week, another 60-pointer. JMU will control the clock early and frustrate the Mountaineers, who will spend a lot of time in the end zone over the final three quarters.

Baylor 55, Sam Houston State 20: If Baylor turns it over, this game could get scary quickly. Sam Houston State is better than the average college football fan realizes. The problem? So is Baylor. It should be another huge night for quarterback Nick Florence.

No. 14 Kansas State 38, North Texas 13: Lance Dunbar cannot save you now, Mean Green. Coach Dan McCarney is a good fit in Denton, but K-State is playing ridiculously good football, and nobody on North Texas' front line will be able to stop the Wildcats' running game.

Texas Tech 51, New Mexico 14: New Mexico is not very good. The jury is still out on Texas Tech, which finishes up its cupcake platter with the Lobos, winners of one game a year ago. We should see a good performance here on both sides of the ball for Texas Tech. We still don't know anything about the Red Raiders. Suit up for Iowa State in two weeks.

Iowa State 38, Western Illinois 10: How long until all the FCS games are done? Running back Shontrelle Johnson will get back into the groove with another 100-yard outing.

No. 12 Texas 24, Ole Miss 13: U-G-L-Y. This one should be interesting and filled with three-and-outs. Ultimately, Texas' running game will be too much late. Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown should punish the Ole Miss front seven and control possession in the fourth quarter, not allowing Ole Miss to rally late.
We're looking at coaches this week on ESPN.com. It's a big subject, sure. In our blog network, we'll be breaking it down each day to smaller topics.

Today, a simple question: What would a program look like without the winningest coach in program history? Which coaches had the biggest impact?

Here's how it breaks down for each program in the Big 12 (all-time record in parentheses):

[+] EnlargeBill Snyder
Brett Davis/US PresswireKansas State's winning percentage plummets without Bill Snyder.
BAYLOR: 524-530-44 (.497)

  • Winningest coach: Grant Teaff: 128-105-6
  • Wins without winningest coach: 396
IOWA STATE: 500-594-24 (.458)

  • Winningest coach: Dan McCarney: 56-85
  • Wins without winningest coach: 444
KANSAS: 572-560-58 (.505)

  • Winningest coach: A.R. Kennedy: 52-9-4
  • Wins without winningest coach: 520
KANSAS STATE: 475-612-41 (.439)

  • Winningest coach: Bill Snyder: 159-83-1
  • Wins without winningest coach: 316
OKLAHOMA: 821-307-44 (.718)

  • Winningest coach: Barry Switzer: 157-29-4
  • Wins without winningest coach: 664
OKLAHOMA STATE: 530-523-47 (.503)

  • Winningest coach: Pat Jones: 62-60-3 (Mike Gundy needs three wins to tie Jones)
  • Wins without winningest coach: 468
TEXAS: 858-330-33 (.716)

  • Winningest coach: Darrell Royal: 167-47-5
  • Wins without winningest coach: 691
TCU: 593-514-57 (.534)

  • Winningest coach: Dutch Meyer: 109-79-13 (Gary Patterson is tied at 109-30.)
  • Wins without winningest coach: 484
TEXAS TECH: 524-405-32 (.562)

  • Winningest coach: Mike Leach: 84-43
  • Wins without winningest coach: 440
WEST VIRGINIA: 701-457-45 (.601)

  • Winningest coach: Don Nehlen: 149-93-4
  • Wins without winningest coach: 552

That's a wide variance of wins. It's clear that no man means more to his school than Bill Snyder does to Kansas State. The program has a rather depressing .358 winning percentage if you remove Snyder's win from the equation. He took two seasons to get Kansas State from a perennial doormat to a team above .500. Snyder then went on a historic run that included a Big 12 title in 2003 and two BCS bowl bids.

Don't ever doubt why some consider what Snyder has done in Manhattan as the single greatest coaching job in the history of the game. Snyder's career win percentage at Kansas State is .656, almost double what the program's overall win percentage is. No other coach comes close to those numbers. There's a reason why many of the nation's coaches are often in awe of Snyder and why he is so respected.

The biggest surprise for me was the relative dominance of West Virginia compared to the rest of the Big 12. That .601 win percentage is behind only Texas and Oklahoma over the course of the program's history. And you wonder why folks are so excited about their entrance into the league?

Looking elsewhere, Texas Tech's decision to fire Mike Leach looks worse and worse while the Mike Gundy hire at Oklahoma State looks better and better. Gundy is three wins from passing Pat Jones as the school's biggest all-time winner. He did so in just 89 games while Jones needed 125 matches to reach 62 victories.

Conversely, how about the job Gary Patterson has done at TCU? Sure, the schedule is different, but he's suffered the same amount of losses as Gundy with 50 more wins. He's also reached 109 wins in 62 fewer games than Dutch Meyer.

We're living in the age of some great, great coaches in this league. History shows us that.

3-point stance: TCU takes swift action

February, 16, 2012
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1. In a matter of hours after Fort Worth police arrested four TCU football players for selling drugs, they became “separated from the university.” TCU’s response gets no argument from me. The swift reaction will send the message that playing football for a free education is a privilege. But I can’t help but wonder if the zero tolerance policy is a reaction to the dithering that went on at Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky case. I expect universities will be quick, open and forthright in such cases from here on out.

2. As soon as West Virginia and the Big East agreed on their divorce, the Big 12 released its 2012 schedule that included the Mountaineers. And for all of the talk that West Virginia has played against distant conference opponents before, the consecutive games at Texas (1,400 miles away) and Texas Tech (1,465 miles away) illustrate just what the Mountaineers are in for. I’d say on the way home from Lubbock, West Virginia officials are going to be thinking, “We paid $20 million to put our teams through this?”

3. The key to minimizing the effects of a stroke depends on how quickly the victim can get treatment. It sounds like North Texas head coach Dan McCarney is one of the fortunate ones. I don’t know how long-term the effects will be of the numbness McCarney suffered on his left side. But I know this: McCarney talks fast and works faster, and no one has a more upbeat attitude. My money is on him making as full a recovery as modern medicine can provide.

Lunchtime Links

April, 14, 2011
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We start the links with some good news ...

Northern Illinois linebacker Devon Butler has been upgraded to fair condition as he recovers from a gunshot wound to his back.

Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick is getting plenty of time with the first team.

Nevada coach Chris Ault has high expectations for his defense.

Can Lance Reynolds revitalize the tight ends at BYU?

UCF athletics director Keith Tribble predicts his school will get into an AQ league. "It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when," Tribble told an Orlando radio station.

Marco Nelson and Brian DeShane are antsy on the sideline of Tulsa spring practice as they rehab shoulder injuries.

Navy works on gaining secondary experience.

Dan McCarney is putting his own twist on the North Texas spring game this weekend.

Allen Sampson is making people notice him at Hawaii.

Kawaun Jakes has bounced back after a lackluster spring scrimmage.

New Non-AQ coaches: Sun Belt

January, 21, 2011
1/21/11
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We continue our look at the new non-AQ head coaches for the 2011 season. Up next: Sun Belt.

Arkansas State: Hugh Freeze.

Rating: Like it. Steve Roberts did an admirable job with Arkansas State in his nine seasons, taking the program to its only bowl game in 2005. But things had grown stagnant and a change was needed. It seemed easy enough to turn to Freeze, who directed the record-breaking offense in 2009. The RedWolves broke nine offensive school records that included 4,841 yards of total offense. Ryan Aplin broke the school records for total offense, passing yards, passing touchdowns and completions. Freeze is a solid recruiter as well. But he has never been a head coach on the FBS level, so that could be a factor.

Louisiana: Mark Hudspeth.

Rating: Like it. Hudspeth did a great job in his two seasons as an assistant at Mississippi State. This past season the Bulldogs went 9-4, were ranked and made it to a bowl game. He coached at North Alabama before that, so he has ties to the South, which is important for recruiting. But Louisiana is not an easy place to win. Rickey Bustle spent nine seasons there and never took his team to a bowl game. UL had been bowl eligible a few times, but with a .500 record could never quite break through.

North Texas: Dan McCarney

Rating: Love it. The Todd Dodge experiment went horribly wrong, so North Texas was absolutely right to go after a proven winner on the FBS level. McCarney spent 12 years as head coach at Iowa State, and remains the longest-tenured (141 games) and winningest (56) coach in school history. He spent the last several seasons as an assistant at Florida, and did the right thing when he kept Mike Canales on as offensive coordinator. With fertile recruiting ground all around him, plus a new stadium opening, McCarney has what he needs to build a winner.

Lunchtime Links

December, 15, 2010
12/15/10
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One serving of lunchtime links, coming up!

Northern Illinois interim coach Tom Matukewicz is enjoying the ride.

Shaky Smithson is leaving Utah as an All-American.

Nobody at San Diego State envisioned the type of season running back Ronnie Hillman had.

The BYU run game was OK without Harvey Unga.

UTEP safety and former walk-0n Austin Contreras wins admiration with his hard work and toughness.

Hawaii WR Greg Salas is thankful to get All-America recognition.

With WAC realignment in full effect, what's next for New Mexico State?

New North Texas coach Dan McCarney has gotten a major bump in pay over predecessor Todd Dodge.

A bowl win for Middle Tennessee would top its in-state foes.

Non-AQ news and notes

December, 15, 2010
12/15/10
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Here are a few news and notes from around the non-AQs:

-- BYU has signed bowl agreements with the S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl for 2012, and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl for 2013. If the Cougars are not selected for a BCS game, those are the place they will land in those respective seasons.

“We are thrilled to have a relationship with these outstanding bowls. It’s an important step for our football program as we begin playing an independent schedule,” BYU athletics director Tom Holmoe said.

The Cougars will face a Mountain West team in the Poinsettia Bowl. They are scheduled to play a team from the Pac-12 at AT&T Park in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, which will feature a Pac-12 squad versus an independent in each of its next three games -- Army in 2011, Navy in 2012 and BYU in 2013. That bowl will continue to have a backup agreement with the WAC in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

-- Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw announced he would conduct a nationwide search for a head coach to replace Al Golden, who left for the University of Miami.

“Temple is firmly committed to finding the best possible person to continue the success it has experienced over the past two seasons and lead it to even greater heights,” Bradshaw said in a statement. "The program has never been in better shape, posting consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1978-79, with the 17 wins during that time tying the school record. Our goal is to find the right person to continue this success on the gridiron while also maintaining excellence in the classroom. With 14 starters, including five all-conference performers, this is a great opportunity for the right coach to keep the program on the winning track.”

-- New North Texas coach Dan McCarney announced the first official hires to his coaching staff. Clint Bowen will serve as defensive coordinator and safeties coach, while Nick Quartaro will be the assistant head coach and wide receivers coach. They join associate head coach and offensive coordinator Mike Canales as the first three assistants to be officially named.

-- Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn also announced some changes to his staff. Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Greg Forest and wide receivers coach Juan Taylor have both been relieved of their duties. Taylor was the senior member of the football staff, having come to Buffalo in 2006. Forest came to Buffalo last December with Quinn from the Cincinnati. Quinn set no timetable for replacing the positions, but hopes to have the positions filled in early January.

-- Nevada has sold out its ticket allotment for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against Boston College on Jan. 9. The school sold 15,369 tickets in five days, and the university will not be getting any more tickets.

-- Fresno State linebacker Kyle Knox, wide receiver Matt Lindsay and linebacker Daniel Salinas did not make the trip to the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl against Northern Illinois on Saturday for an unspecified violation of team rules. Coach Pat Hill made the announcement on Tuesday.

Non-AQ head-coaching moves

December, 13, 2010
12/13/10
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There have been plenty of head-coaching moves among the non-AQ teams so far this offseason. Here is a quick primer on who is out and who is in:

Arkansas State

Who's out: Steve Roberts.

Who's in: Hugh Freeze. He served as offensive coordinator under Roberts, and this past season, Arkansas State broke nine school records on offense. His previous head-coaching experience came on the high school level and at Lambuth (Tenn.) College.

Ball State

Out: Stan Parrish

In: The Cardinals have yet to make a hire, and athletic director Tom Collins has refused to comment about his search. A few names mentioned in the local newspaper in Muncie include Stanford special teams coach Brian Polian, Indiana offensive coordinator Matt Canada and New Orleans Saints assistant Mike Neu.

Kent State

Who's out: Doug Martin.

Who's in: The Golden Flashes have not made a hire yet, but have reportedly showed interest in West Virginia offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen, who has coaching experience in the MAC as an assistant at Ohio. Ohio State assistant coach Darrell Hazell is rumored to be a candidate as well.

Louisiana

Who's out: Rickey Bustle.

Who's in: Mark Hudspeth. He spent the past two seasons as an assistant at Mississippi State, as receivers coach and passing game coordinator. His previous head-coaching experience came at Division II North Alabama, where he went 66-21 with five NCAA playoff appearances in seven seasons. A news conference is scheduled for later today to introduce him.

North Texas

Who's out: Todd Dodge.

Who's in: Dan McCarney. After the Dodge experiment failed miserably, the Mean Green decided to turn to somebody with previous head-coaching experience. McCarney spent 12 seasons at Iowa State, taking the Cyclones to five bowl games. He most recently served as an assistant at Florida.

Northern Illinois

Who's out: Jerry Kill.

Who's in: Dave Doeren. The Huskies have scheduled a news conference for later today to introduce their new coach, and ESPN.com reports the choice is Doeren. He has been a Wisconsin assistant since 2006.

Temple

Who's out: Al Golden.

Who's in: Temple must search for a replacement for Golden, who left Sunday for the University of Miami. Expect defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio to be a candidate.

Video: Friday Four Downs

December, 3, 2010
12/03/10
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Andrea Adelson looks at the top storylines in the non-AQ Friday Four Downs.

Lunchtime Links

December, 1, 2010
12/01/10
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Just two more days until the MAC title game!

Boise State kicker Kyle Brotzman on missing the game-winning field goal: "It was devastating." You can see more of his interview with Tom Rinaldi of ESPN today at 6 p.m. on "SportsCenter."

The BCS is simply absorbing the most nettlesome non-AQ schools, writes Doug Robinson of the Deseret News.

The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl will invite either Nevada or Boise State.

Ball State athletic director Tom Collins won't comment on his search for a new coach.

Hayden Fry believes North Texas made the right decision when it hired Dan McCarney.

A single, anonymous San Diego State donor has pledged $5 million to help retain coach Brady Hoke, who has had informal discussions with Minnesota. Hoke could not confirm he was out of the running for that job when asked by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The sweeping changes at Miami (Ohio) began off the field.

Hawaii had face-to-face talks with the Mountain West on the mainland Tuesday in its pursuit to join the league.

Northern Illinois is looking forward to playing in a dome for the MAC championship after practicing in the cold this week in DeKalb.

SMU continues its turnaround under coach June Jones.

North Texas hires Dan McCarney

November, 30, 2010
11/30/10
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North Texas made the right call to go with Dan McCarney as its head coach. It was clear the Mean Green needed somebody with head coaching experience after the Todd Dodge experiment failed.

McCarney not only has that, he has winning in his background and lists former North Texas coach Hayden Fry as his mentor.

In fact, Fry's two sons were at the news conference officially announcing McCarney's hiring on Tuesday. McCarney thanked a long list of influential coaches in his life, including Fry and Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, along with Florida coach Urban Meyer. There is no question McCarney has learned from some of the best, and he had some success at Iowa State, where he coached from 1995-2006.

His first team had gone winless the season before he got there. Though it took five years to rebuild, McCarney ended up going to five bowl games from 2000-2005.

"Dan McCarney is the embodiment of everything we were looking for when we began the process of looking for the head coach that was going to return North Texas to a championship caliber program,” North Texas athletic director Rick Villarreal said. “He has a proven record of success at the highest level of college football and has an infectious energy and passion that will motivate student-athletes, alumni faculty and the community to new levels of commitment for success. With this hire, we have a person who will be the face of our athletics department and a tremendous ambassador for this university.”

The road ahead is not going to be easy, though. North Texas is coming off a 3-9 season, and has won a total of 13 games in the past six seasons. The last winning season -- 2004, which is also the last time the Mean Green went to a bowl game. If McCarney is anything, he is passionate and enthusiastic, and that should help now that North Texas is set to open a new football stadium next season. McCarney vowed to fill the stadium or "die trying."

He also described a commitment to getting back to playing solid defense, a specialty of his. He spent the past three seasons as a defensive assistant at Florida, and also served as defensive coordinator at Wisconsin. After he left Iowa State, McCarney may have wondered whether he would be a head coach again. He recounted a story about his father, who died three years ago.

"He mentioned to me four weeks before he passed. He said, 'Dan, you're going to be a head coach again. You're going to be a winning head coach again,'" McCarney said. "I know he's smiling down on us. I'm really excited about this opportunity."

Now the work begins.

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