NCF Nation: Darin Hinshaw

1. Penn State senior guard John Urschel, a grad student in mathematics, is teaching a trigonometry class this semester. “I get these printouts of kids that have to leave practice early because they have exams,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “They color-code it. A freshman, it’s yellow. A sophomore, he’s red. If a kid’s a junior, it’s blue. Whatever. So Urschel is purple. ‘What is this color?’ I asked. He said, ‘He’s leaving practice because he’s giving the exam. He’s the professor!’” O’Brien laughed. “I’ve seen it all now.”

2. With the decision of former Notre Dame quarterback Gunner Kiel to transfer to Cincinnati, the head coach formerly known as the Riverboat Gambler is on a hot streak. Kiel is everything Bearcats coach Tommy Tuberville could want. Big body (6-foot-4, 210), big arm, relatively local, and itching to prove himself. Plus, Tuberville has two seniors who can play while Kiel sits out this season. Credit UC quarterback coach Darin Hinshaw with making the sale. Credit Tuberville with making an early splash.

3. My colleague Ted Miller posted an interesting analysis of the Pac-12’s turnover margin over the past three seasons. USC is a cumulative plus-1 under head coach Lane Kiffin, who had a veteran quarterback (Matt Barkley) all three seasons. In Pete Carroll’s glory days, the Trojans dominated that statistic. They went plus-21 in 2005, the last Trojans team to reach the BCS championship game (has it been that long?). The three Rose Bowl teams that followed went a combined plus-13. USC doesn’t protect the ball like that anymore.
Tommy Tuberville closed out his first spring with Cincinnati on Wednesday morning. Shortly afterward, he made his biggest move as the Bearcats' new head coach.

Tuberville landed former Notre Dame star quarterback Gunner Kiel, a former four-star prospect who, yes, has raised several red flags despite never stepping foot in a college game yet.

He has gone from the Big Ten (Indiana) to the SEC (LSU) to Notre Dame, drawing the public ire of Les Miles and three different fan bases along the way.

But getting past the (hopefully) subsided drama, there is a reason Kiel drew so much attention in the first place.

He is good. At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Kiel was ESPN's No. 3 quarterback and No. 52 overall player out of the recruiting class of 2012.

That is quality. And not simply American Athletic Conference quality.

No player ranked higher than him committed to a school currently in the conference. In fact, outside of Rutgers' Darius Hamilton (No. 69 overall in 2012) and Louisville's James Quick (No. 79 overall in 2013), no one in the top-100 from either the 2012 or 2013 class committed to a current conference school. And Hamilton and Quick will be in the Big Ten and ACC, respectively, by the time Kiel is finally eligible to take the field for the Bearcats, in 2014.

"Cincinnati was the best fit for me because the relationship I have with [quarterbacks] coach [Darin] Hinshaw is like nothing else. He is a great overall person and is someone I know I can get coached by," Kiel told ESPN's Joe Schad on Wednesday. "The group of guys I'm going to be around is second to none. I love where they are heading and the future is bright."

The Columbus, Ind., native will be roughly 90 minutes from home at his new destination. And though Brendon Kay and Munchie Legaux are slugging it out for the right to start this coming season, both will be gone by the time Kiel is eligible.

Cincinnati welcomed in three quarterback commits during this recruiting cycle, but it is unlikely that Tuberville would pursue such a high-profile transfer had he not envisioned big plans for him.

The coach's pro-style offense seemingly suits Kiel perfectly, and the success of recent Tuberville signal callers -- Texas Tech quarterbacks finished in the top-10 nationally in passing yards per game in each of Tuberville's three seasons there -- should serve as validation.

When Louisville and Rutgers announced that they were departing next year, Cincinnati looked like the class of remaining conference schools. Landing a high-profile prospect like Kiel only re-affirms that moving forward.
Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville announced the hiring of six assistant coaches and the strength and conditioning staff Friday.

The new staff:
  • Darin Hinshaw, passing game coordinator/quarterbacks
  • Blake Rolan, wide receivers
  • Art Kaufman, defensive coordinator
  • John Lovett, defensive backs
  • Robert Prunty, associate head coach/defensive ends
  • Fred Tate, defensive line
  • Joe Walker, director of football strength and conditioning
  • Orlando Smith, assistant director of football strength and conditioning

The new hires join Eddie Gran, who was named the team’s offensive coordinator in late December.

"I'm pleased with the staff we have assembled so far," Tuberville said in a statement. "We have a group of excellent coaches with a wide variety of experience as well as strong recruiting ties and knowledge of Cincinnati and the tri-state area. I'm excited to get started, finish off recruiting and prepare for spring football."

Hinshaw and Rolan spent the past three seasons at Tennessee. Hinshaw worked with the Vols’ quarterbacks in 2010-11 before moving over to the wide receivers and serving as the recruiting coordinator in 2012. Rolan served as an offensive intern during that time, working closely with the offensive staff and wide receivers.

The four defensive coaches all join Cincinnati from Texas Tech. Kaufman has 11 years experience as a coordinator at the FBS level. The 2012 Broyles Award nominee was a former defensive coordinator at North Carolina and Mississippi, where he first worked with Tuberville. Kaufman has also has coached at Southern Miss, Middle Tennessee State, East Carolina, Arkansas Tech and Louisiana Tech.

Lovett returns to Cincinnati for his second stint with the Bearcats, having served as defensive coordinator from 1989-92. His career includes stints as defensive coordinator at Miami, Bowling Green, Clemson, Auburn, Maine and Cincinnati. Lovett and Tuberville first coached together at Ole Miss and then again at Auburn from 1999-2001 and at Texas Tech in 2012.

Prunty helped Texas Tech put together its top-two rated recruiting classes in school history in 2011 and 2012. He was the head coach at Hargrave Military Academy from 2002-10, coaching 27 players who would later play in the NFL.

Tate has had coaching stints at Marshall, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Southern Miss, East Carolina, Middle Tennessee State, Jacksonville State and Texas State. After graduating high school, he spent five years in the U.S. Army as a combat engineer. Following his service, Tate was a junior college All-American at East Central CC before finishing his career at Southern Miss.

Both Walker and Smith join Cincinnati from Texas Tech. Walker also spent time with the strength programs at Auburn, TCU, Kansas State and Pittsburgh. Smith was a two-time All-Conference USA running back in the late 1990s at Cincinnati. Before joining the Red Raiders, Smith worked previously at South Carolina, Kansas and Minnesota.
Terry Joseph, who coached the Tennessee defensive backs and also served as the Vols' recruiting coordinator the last two seasons, has taken a job on the Nebraska staff.

Joseph informed Tennessee coach Derek Dooley of his decision on Friday. Joseph had coached with Dooley at Louisiana Tech and came with him to Tennessee.

With Joseph leaving, that means the Vols will have an entirely new defensive staff next season. He's also the seventh assistant coach to leave Tennessee's staff since the end of the 2011 season.

Sal Sunseri is the Vols' new defensive coordinator after coming over from Alabama. Derrick Ansley, who was a graduate assistant at Alabama and worked with the Crimson Tide's secondary, was hired in February to coach the Vols' cornerbacks. John Palermo is the Vols' new defensive line coach after spending the last two seasons at Middle Tennessee. Palermo also coached on the Washington Redskins' staff and spent 15 years coaching at Wisconsin.

Dooley said last month that he felt the program had been energized by all the new coaching blood. The only two coaches remaining from his original staff are offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and receivers coach Darin Hinshaw, who's moving over to receivers after coaching the Vols' quarterbacks the past two seasons.