NCF Nation: David Elson
East Carolina’s quarterbacks threw the ball throughout the entire opening spring practice.
Former WKU coach David Elson landed a job at Indiana.
Utah State is ready to begin spring football and the quest for finding a new starting running back.
The Idaho Statesman did a nice profile of defensive lineman Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, who is learning how to perfect his technique.
The UNLV running backs are preparing to get more action in coach Bobby Hauck’s run-heavy system.
Hawaii’s success in 2010 will hinge on the depth the team builds during spring ball.
Middle Tennessee's talented freshman defensive linemen from a year ago are ready to emerge this year.
UNLV football recruits are playing a waiting game with a coaching search still underway.
Marshall players are eager to work with new head coach Doc Holliday.
Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora installed the spread at Middle Tennessee back in 1999 and now he has to defend it.
Air Force knows its challenge against Houston, now it’s a matter of executing.
Former Western Kentucky coach David Elson is looking for employment.
The Mountain West feels confident that it’s on the road toward earning automatic qualification status.
TCU and Oregon State are near finalizing plans for a season-opening game in Dallas.
As more head coaching positions are filled, it looks less likely that anyone will leave the BYU staff.
Entertainer Bill Cosby is enjoying seeing his alma mater head to its first bowl game since 1979.
Akron’s J.D. Brookhart was relived of his duties last Friday, Marshall’s Mark Snyder resigned on Sunday and in a little bit of a surprise, Louisiana-Monroe announced Monday that Charlie Weatherbie would not have his contract renewed.
By my count, there’s only one coach, maybe two, that should be concerned: North Texas’ Todd Dodge and Arkansas State’s Steve Roberts. Both fell way below expectations this year and during several years prior. I think Dodge is in more trouble than Roberts, but here’s a rundown of the coaching carousel:
David Elson, Western Kentucky (0-11, 0-7 Sun Belt; vs. Arkansas State)
Tommy West, Memphis (2-10, 1-7 C-USA)
Mike Sanford, UNLV (5-7, 3-5 MWC)
Dick Tomey, San Jose State (2-9, 1-6 WAC; at Louisiana Tech)
J.D. Brookhart, Akron (3-9, 2-6 MAC)
Mark Snyder, Marshall (6-6, 4-4 C-USA)
Charlie Weatherbie, Louisiana-Monroe (6-6, 5-3 Sun Belt)
Larry Porter, Memphis (LSU RB coach)
Willie Taggart, Western Kentucky (Stanford RB coach)
Todd Dodge, North Texas (2-10, 1-8 Sun Belt): Dodge lost his final regular season game last week to finish the year 2-10. He’s 5-31 in his three years with the program and the competitiveness of the Mean Green has been hit and miss. They lost their last three games by a score, but all of those losses came to teams with losing records. However, three years is not a long time for a coach. Dodge hasn’t gotten all of his recruits in place and at least offensively, there’s a lot of talent returning.
Steve Roberts, Arkansas State (2-7, 1-4 Sun Belt): Arkansas State beat North Texas last week and should defeat Western Kentucky this week to earn a 4-8 overall record, which is a far cry from what many were expecting. This spiral started last season when the team needed a win for a bowl and the Red Wolves haven’t gotten out of the funk. Arkansas State hasn’t had a winning season since 1995, but it has had three 6-6 seasons during Roberts’ eight-year tenure.
Mike Price, UTEP (4-8, 3-5 C-USA): UTEP AD Bob Stull said Price was safe before the beatdown of Marshall, but that solidified it. Even though UTEP underachieved this season, it still showed flashes of being a potential contender in Conference USA. Price will get one more year to see if he can turn the program around.
Mike Locksley, New Mexico (1-11, 1-7 MWC): Obviously, this was not an ideal season for New Mexico, but I said all along that Locksley needed just one win to keep his job and he got it against Colorado State. However, a sub-.500 record won’t cut it next year especially with the PR nightmare Locksley put the university through this season. He’ll need to show big improvement in 2010 to stay safe.
Greg McMackin, Hawaii (6-6, 3-5 WAC; vs. Wisconsin): A lot of credit goes to McMackin for the turnaround his team has performed in an attempt to save its season. The Warriors still need one more win for a bowl berth, but they were left for dead after a six-game losing streak through the middle of the season. The Warriors have won four in a row with Wisconsin coming to town.
George O’Leary, UCF (8-4, 6-2 C-USA): A lot of people wanted O’Leary fired after last season not only for the poor results on the field, but also some of the drama off of it. But Central Florida has rallied around its embattled coach and come up with an eight-win campaign and a bowl berth. The defense has been fantastic and O’Leary should be praised for getting the program back on track.
1. Battle in C-USA East: East Carolina leads a group of five possible C-USA East champions, and since the Pirates play on Sunday, they will know exactly where they stand by the day of the game. But Southern Miss, Central Florida, Marshall and UAB are all fighting to stay within striking distance of the C-USA East title. Southern Miss and UAB have the best chance since both have yet to play ECU.
2. And in the other East: Ohio put some pressure on Temple this week with its big win over Buffalo to stay in contention for the MAC East title. Temple, which plays Akron this weekend, has won seven straight but struggled with Miami (Ohio) last week. Temple is already a game up on Ohio, but the two teams have to meet at the end of the season.
3. Staying in the MAC: Central Michigan made a huge statement on Wednesday that it wasn’t going to be bothered by the loss to Boston College two weeks ago. The Chippewas are eyeing their third conference title in the past four seasons and have been the most dominant MAC team all year. However, Northern Illinois is lurking, and with a win against Ball State Thursday night, it could continue to put pressure on CMU and the meeting at the end of the season.
4. Style points do matter: Boise State found out the hard way last week that style points do matter when you’re fighting for your BCS bowl life. That’s why making a good showing against a seven-win Idaho team will go a long way toward getting back in voters' good graces. It won’t get the Broncos above an undefeated TCU, but it will keep them back on the at-large radar.
5. Not the biggest game of the year: TCU coach Gary Patterson said he doesn’t want his team to think of Saturday’s game against No. 16 Utah as an all-or-nothing affair. He said his team has done a good job of taking games one at a time and he thinks this one will be no different despite the fact that it’s the last major obstacle standing in the Horned Frogs' way of their first BCS bowl.
6. Last chance: This weekend’s game against Air Force is UNLV’s last chance to become bowl eligible. The Rebels have just two games remaining this season and need to win both to get to six wins. Air Force has four losses this year, but only one -- a loss to Minnesota -- has come against an unranked team. If UNLV doesn’t win, coach Mike Sanford could be in trouble at the end of the weekend.
7. Lame ducks: Both Memphis coach Tommy West and Western Kentucky coach David Elson were fired this week and both decided to coach their teams through the rest of the year. Applaud them for doing right by the players, and perhaps the players will rally around their coaches.
8. WAC still up for grabs? Boise State should win the WAC this season, but if something crazy does happen, this weekend’s game between Nevada and Fresno State could feature the next WAC champion. Nevada is the only other undefeated team in the WAC besides Boise State and it will play the Broncos at the end of the season. Fresno State is Nevada’s last major hurdle before Boise State.
9. Firing season is upon us: After last weekend’s firings, it's clear that athletic directors and presidents aren’t going to be shy to pull the trigger on their coaches. Several coaches already are on the hot seat -- North Texas’ Todd Dodge and Akron's JD Brookhart to name a couple -- and should be weary of Sunday and Monday should they lose this weekend.
10. Holding out hope in the Belt: Middle Tennessee and Louisiana-Monroe still have an outside chance at catching Troy, which is playing out of conference this week. If both the Blue Raiders and the Warhawks win this week, they’ll be a game back of Troy, but the Trojans would hold the tiebreaker in head-to-head competition. Those teams need to win out and hope Troy falls in a conference game.
Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn has been named as a possible candidate for both the Memphis and Western Kentucky head-coaching positions.
Tulsa and East Carolina square off this weekend in a rematch of last year’s Conference USA title game.
The Wyoming defense is still learning how to shut down the passing games of their opposition.
Hawaii’s not saying whether its kicking competition is open, but the Warriors' two place-kickers are practicing like it is.
Memphis coach Tommy West changed the way his firing was perceived with the words he leveled against the school earlier this week.
Larry Kehres at UNLV? The fans are throwing the Mount Union head coach’s name out there even though Mike Sanford is still the coach.
The firing of David Elson has been tough on Western Kentucky’s players.
Western Kentucky fired coach David Elson on Monday after seven seasons with the program, but Elson and his staff will coach the final three games of the season.
Western Kentucky is in the midst of its first season as an FBS program and is currently 0-9. WKU athletic director Wood Selig said in a news conference Monday afternoon that the team wasn’t competitive or living up to the standards that the school expected.
“As we sit here today, WKU is one of only four winless teams of 120 [FBS] member institutions, our 17 consecutive losses dating back to last year is the longest losing streak in the 91-year history of WKU football,” Selig said. “We have also lost 22 consecutive games against (FBS) opponents and we were more competitive against Sun Belt teams two years ago then we are currently.
“Losing of this magnitude is not what we expect. As the losses have mounted over the past few years, the level of frustration and disappointment within the community has dramatically increased and it must be addressed at this time.”
Elson is 39-41 during his tenure, but has struggled mightily during the past two seasons as the Hilltoppers have transitioned to FBS. During that time, WKU is just 2-19 and has rarely been competitive.
Also, the Bowling Green Daily News reported that season-ticket sales have dropped 17 percent since 2007, and sales of walk-up tickets are down 45 percent since 2008.
Recently, Elson starred in a promotion offering $6 tickets in an effort to drum up interest.
Selig and WKU president Gary Ransdell met after Saturday’s 40-20 loss to Troy. They told Elson on Monday morning and gave him the choice to finish out the season or leave immediately.
“I’m a David Elson guy,” Troy coach Larry Blakeney said on the Sun Belt teleconference after being asked about Elson’s firing. “I’ve gotten to know that young man and I think he’s a great young football coach. They certainly were as well prepared for us as any team in our league. It’s disappointing to me, but that’s the nature of this beast. I think a lot of him and I respect their program and I’m a coach’s guy and I hope that he fares well out of this experience and can move on and continue his career.”
According to Selig, Elson will receive a $500,000 buyout, as stipulated in his contract, at the end of the season.
Selig said a search committee was formed today to find Elson’s replacement, but no timetable has been set. Selig did say he’s already received emails and text messages from interested parties.
“I’m hearing that there are SEC coordinators that have let it be known that they have interest in our job,” Selig said. “I think the job is going to garner a lot of national interest and we will have an outstanding pool to choose from.”
Elson was not available to the media, but he did issue a statement through the WKU athletic department: “I have had the privilege of coaching at this great university for 14 years, so obviously I am very disappointed and do not agree with this decision.”
Western Kentucky announced Wednesday that it has agreed to a four-game football series with Kentucky.
Western Kentucky will travel to Kentucky in 2010 and 2012 and the two teams will play a neutral site game at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., in 2011 and 2013. The games in Nashville have been designated as home games for WKU.
"The University of Kentucky has many scheduling options, and I compliment them for agreeing to this four-game series," coach David Elson said. "These match-ups will be exciting for our players, staff and fans and will also result in added exposure to our program. Our transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision has had many firsts, and the first four-year series between these two schools will benefit many."
The 2010 game will mark just the second football meeting between the two schools. Their only other meeting was a 41-3 Kentucky win on Sept. 27, 2008 in Lexington, Ky.
For the third consecutive year, member of the Western Kentucky football team will go door-to-door selling football tickets.
This has got to be one of my favorite promotions.
The players will visit eight Bowling Green, Ky., neighborhoods on July 28 and 30. For just $30, fan will be able to see all six of the Hilltoppers home games.
Last season, Western Kentucky players sold 300 season tickets door-to-door., and the Hilltoppers enjoyed the second-highest average attendance figures in school history. Student attendance has increased more than 80 percent from 2006 to 2008.
"This initiative has had a positive impact for our program in many ways," coach David Elson said. "It is always good when our players and coaches can interact within the community, and we are fortunate to have a very supportive and loyal fan base. We have had a lot of success selling season tickets doing this, and it gives our players a better understanding of the business aspect of sales and marketing. And, any contest among teammates is sure to result in some good natured competition and will help our overall camaraderie."
I must say that this year's promotion is slightly more intriguing than last year simply because Western Kentucky is an FBS school attached to the Sun Belt Conference. I could see doing this to drum up support as a provisional, but as a full-fledged member of a conference that able to participate in a bowl game is pretty interesting.
This year, the group of players and coaches that sell the most tickets will be treated to a cookout at coach David Elson's house and will be excused from early morning breakfast checks for a week.