NCF Nation: Rick Stockstill

Unbeaten and unquestioned? Not so fast

December, 2, 2012
Good thing this will be settled on the field, once and for all.

Though even a Notre Dame win over Alabama may not be enough to convince everyone that the Irish are the nation's best team.

And we're not talking about also undefeated Ohio State, either, which could theoretically win the AP title with a Notre Dame loss on Jan. 7.

Three coaches voted the Crimson Tide ahead of the Irish in the final regular-season USA Today coaches' poll.

What's more — one voted Notre Dame No. 4, behind Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

Vanderbilt's James Franklin picked three of his fellow SEC teams ahead of the Irish, while Middle Tennessee's Rick Stockstill and Texas Tech's Tommy Tuberville both voted Notre Dame second behind the Tide.

Franklin voted his Commodores 16th. They finished outside the top 25.

Lunchtime Links

January, 18, 2011
What did we miss this weekend? Let's check some links:

Former Tulsa and Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe will interview for the offensive coordinator job at LSU.

TCU co-offensive coordinator Justin Fuente has also been mentioned as a possibility, but he said he has not spoken with LSU.

More than 6,000 fans paid tribute to the TCU football team.

UCF hopes to reel in another strong recruiting class.

Nevada defensive coordinator Andy Buh sits down for an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal and talks about the biggest key in turning the defense around.

Southern Miss defensive coordinator Todd Bradford stepped down to take the linebackers coach job at Maryland.

Air Force is having trouble filling its 2011 football schedule.

Bill Blankenship's hire is crucial to Tulsa's future.

Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill says he won't call the offensive plays.

We should stop and listen to student-athletes.

Lunchtime Links

January, 14, 2011
Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee has withrawn his name from consideration for the Tulsa job. Tulsa assistant Bill Blankenship will reportedly be named head coach.

Tulsa's job is much more attractive than it was in 1999.

Utah hires Tim Davis, and Norm Chow is still at UCLA. For now.

Chow is the right fit for Utah if ...

San Diego State fans shouldn't turn on Brady Hoke for taking his dream job.

Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill could promote from within to fill his two coordinator vacancies.

Southern Miss only has two scholarship offers remaining to give out.

Rice has lost two assistants: offensive coordinator Beaty to Kansas and defensive line/special teams coordinator David Naivar to Texas State.

Who's next at quarterback for Wyoming?

Lunchtime Links

November, 15, 2010
Hard to believe only a few weeks are left in the college football season. Better enjoy the games while you can!

Now on to some links:

Could a quarterback change be in the air at Utah?

Boise State lost middle linebacker Byron Hout to a broken foot.

Once again, football players are the victims of gun violence. This time, it happened at Southern Miss.

BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall says his team hasn't peaked yet.

TCU coach Gary Patterson defended his team's close win against San Diego State. "No one said anything about Auburn allowing however many points they allowed," he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

San Diego State is 2-0 following a loss this season, with Utah coming to town.

Fresno State has to quickly put its loss to Nevada behind it with Boise State next up.

Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill insists he hasn't lost his team.

Houston will not make a change at quarterback after David Piland threw five interceptions in a loss to Tulsa.

FIU has inched closer to a bowl berth.

Western Michigan's offense is rolling, but its defense is wearing down.
Dwight Dasher figures he will be nervous before Middle Tennessee plays Troy Tuesday night in a big Sun Belt conference showdown.

Who can blame him? It has been 10 months since he played in a football game, the first four contests of his senior season gone while he served an NCAA suspension for improperly accepting a $1,500 loan.

[+] EnlargeDwight Dasher
Aaron M. Sprecher/Icon SMIDwight Dasher will get his first start of the season Tuesday night against Troy.
Dasher came into the season with high hopes and some outside Heisman buzz as one of the top dual threat quarterbacks in the country, and it pained him to be in the meeting rooms and on the sideline knowing he could do nothing but watch.

But the season is far from over.

Middle Tennessee managed to go 2-2 without him, and is 1-0 in conference play going into the Troy game. This matchup could ultimately decide who ends up winning the league. Troy (2-2, 1-0) has won four straight conference championships, including four straight over the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee was the preseason pick to win it all.

“I mean we want to beat them bad,” Dasher said in a phone interview. “We’re trying to go out there and win, and be the conference champs this year.”

Dasher has plenty of motivation on all fronts. He is eager to get his season started, and has spent extra time at practice working with his receivers to try to shed some of the rust. The time off between the win over Louisiana on Sept. 25 has certainly helped because it has given Dasher extra time to get reps with the first team.

He does not anticipate being rusty, but coach Rick Stockstill knows it is expecting a lot to believe Dasher will be on top of his game.

“You can only simulate game time situations in practice so much and there’s nothing like getting out there and playing,” Stockstill said. “He hasn't played a live game since December. I'm sure there will be some rust but he's had great week of practice.”

There is also motivation to change the way he has played against Troy. Dasher has never had a good game against the Trojans. In a 31-7 loss last year, he was 24-of-44 for 245 yards with a touchdown, but was shut down in the run game, with 18 carries for 53 yards. He played sparingly his freshman year and came off the bench his sophomore year but did poorly in relief.

“They have keyed in on me a lot, not wanting me to run the ball,” said Dasher, who became the fourth player in NCAA history last season to pass for more than 2,500 yards and rush for more than 1,000 yards.

“So they’ll bring a little pressure. Our offensive line has to step it up and pick it up. If they do that, I’m going to have a good game.”

The Middle Tennessee offensive line has been banged up, so that is going to be a huge key in the game. Troy coach Larry Blakeney knows his team has to prepare differently with Dasher back on the field simply because he runs the ball more than his replacements did.

“We will have to prepare well for the draw, the power and the trap where he has the ball in his hands,” he said. “Sometimes they will just line him up and run it right or left. He is also not bad throwing the ball. We had a good game against him last year, but he is a viable guy who makes a difference.”

As for Troy, the Trojans have one of the top all-purpose players in the country in Jerrel Jernigan. He needs seven receptions to break the school record of 215 held by behind Danny Grant (1966-69) and 218 yards to break the career yards mark of 2,907 that Grant also holds.

But much of the spotlight will be on Dasher and how he does in his return.

“I’m ready to get back out there and play, give everything I got especially the game I’m coming back for,” Dasher said.
Middle Tennessee quarterback Dwight Dasher had his appeal to reduce his four-game suspension rejected by the NCAA, so he must sit out tomorrow's game against Louisiana.

Dasher has been suspended four games for improperly accepting a $1,500 loan. He is eligible to return for the huge conference showdown against Troy on Tuesday, Oct. 5.

Without Dasher, Middle Tennessee has struggled to find any consistency. The Blue Raiders are 1-2 and face a big test in their conference opener at the Ragin' Cajuns. Jeff Murphy and Logan Kilgore have both started at quarterback, and coach Rick Stockstill has yet to announce who will start Saturday.

Kilgore has been hampered with a toe injury, which forced him to miss the second game of the season against Austin Peay. He returned last week against Memphis, but was benched in favor of Murphy after throwing three interceptions in the loss.

Middle Tennessee also has taken a hit to its offensive line: center Alex Stuart (knee) could be out for the year, while tackle Mark Fisher (knee) is doubtful for this game, and guard Brandon McLeroy is questionable with several injuries.

One of the biggest problems, though, has been turnovers. Middle Tennessee is one of the worst in the country in turnover margin, having given the ball away 10 times and taken it away just twice. Its four turnovers against Memphis led directly to all of the Tigers' 24 points.

Middle Tennessee went into the season as the consensus pick to win the Sun Belt. If it truly wants to stay in that race, it has to beat Louisiana and just weather the storm until Dasher returns. The Blue Raiders should consider themselves fortunate that he will be back just in time for that game against the Trojans.
Dwight Dasher's status for the season is uncertain as the star Middle Tennessee quarterback is under investigation for allegedly failing to repay a loan and stealing a teammate's checks to use as collateral. No formal charges have been filed, and Dasher is still practicing with the team.

But coach Rick Stockstill doesn't know whether Dasher will be available for the Sept. 2 opener against Minnesota. Spokesman Mark Owens said Monday the school was still in the inquiry stage and there is no timetable for a resolution.

According to various media reports, campus police are looking into the allegations. An incident report filed with campus police alleges Dasher failed to pay a loan to an 80-year-old Murfreesboro resident. Reports say the loan is for $1,500. The allegations have been reported to the NCAA and Sun Belt. Athletic director Chris Massaro announced the investigation in a statement.

Middle Tennessee's hopes for the season would take a huge blow if Dasher is unavailable. The dynamic quarterback had 2,500 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards last season, becoming only the fourth player in NCAA history to do so. Middle Tennessee went 10-3 last season and won the New Orleans Bowl, and is the preseason pick to win the Sun Belt. Dasher was selected preseason player of the year and is on various watch lists as well.

The Blue Raiders have two other quarterbacks on the roster, but neither has thrown a pass in a Division I game -- junior college transfers Logan Kilgore and Jeff Murphy. All three are getting reps in practice.

Opening Camp: Middle Tennessee

August, 6, 2010
We continue our series of camp previews for select non-AQ schools.

Opening camp: Middle Tennessee

Schedule: Practice starts today.

Sidelined: WR Jamar Brown (hernia) is out for three weeks. DT Dwight Smith, RG Alex Stuart, RT Mark Fisher, CB Kenneth Gilstrap and DT SaCoby Carter are coming off offseason surgery and could be limited.

What’s new: Both coordinators. Mike Schultz runs the offense after spending last season at Illinois and 2007-08 at TCU. Randall McCray runs the defense after spending the last four years as an assistant at Wisconsin.

Key battle: Middle linebacker. Senior Antwan Davis and junior Gorby Loreus are competing to replace Danny Carmichael, the leader of the defense and second-leading tackler with 94. Davis has more experience, but Loreus is a better athlete.

New on the scene: LB Stephen Roberts. Don’t forget about Roberts in the battle for MLB, either. Roberts has plenty of potential but needs more experience.

Breaking out: Look for Garrett Andrews to become the go-to guy for Dwight Dasher with leading receiver Chris McClover gone. Andrews had 530 yards receiving and four TDs last season and ended the spring as the team’s top receiver.

Don’t forget about: RB Phillip Tanner. After leading the team in rushing as a junior, Tanner went into last season with high hopes. But he injured his knee in the second game of the season and took a redshirt. He leads a deep unit, joining Benjamin Cunningham and D.D. Kyles.

All eyes on: QB Dwight Dasher. Last season, Dasher became the fourth player in NCAA history to throw for more than 2,500 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season, while breaking school records for total offense, rushing yards in a season for a quarterback and single-season TD passes. He had a monster bowl game against Southern Miss (201 yards rushing, 162 yards passing, 4 TDs) -- can he keep it up for this season?

Quoting: “A lot of expectations are surrounding our team and we are excited about the challenges that are in front of us. It's a chance to get out and compete and football is all about competition." -- Coach Rick Stockstill
Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill was inducted as an honorary member into the prestigious Phi Kappa Phi during a ceremony Tuesday evening.

Phi Kappa Phi is an academic honor society whose members usually rank within the top 10 percent of their class. Candidates also have excellent character and exemplify service and excellence.

Stockstill was honored because of the the Blue Raiders' academic progress. According to a release by the university, when Stockstill took over the program the Blue Raiders had an NCAA Academic Progress Rate of 812, one of the lowest in the country. Today the team’s APR is 990, the largest jump of any program in the country.

Last spring, 39 football players had a GPA of more than 3.0 and 12 made the dean’s list.

Phi Kappa Phi affiliates include members of the United States Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winners, inventors, business and industry moguls.
Tuesday was Mike Schultz’s first day on the field as Middle Tennessee’s new offensive coordinator -- two weeks after he accepted the job.

Schultz’s introduction to the Blue Raiders has been a whirlwind.

He’s spent long days and nights learning the offense former offensive coordinator Tony Franklin installed last year, as well as personnel and the names of his fellow coaches, who have done some major handholding to get Schultz ready for the first day of spring practice.

[+] EnlargeDasher
AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyQuarterback Dwight Dasher doesn't have to worry about new offensive coordinator Mike Schultz inplementing a new scheme.
“Today was my first practice and I wasn’t sure where the field was until about 2 o’clock this afternoon,” Schultz said jokingly.

Schultz had just a few days to meet his offensive players before most of them went on spring break last week. Schultz used that time to bunker down in his office and watch all of the film he could get his hands on. He watched every cut-up of Franklin’s spread offense, every cut-up of every game from last year’s 10-3 campaign, and every game in its entirety, sometimes two or three times.

“And I’ve been trying to get myself in a position to move,” Schultz said of moving himself and his wife into their new home.

But Schultz doesn’t mind the cram session. After all, he was unemployed when Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill called him about the position. Schultz was fired in mid-December after one season as the offensive coordinator at Illinois. Prior to that, he spent 11 years as an offensive coach at TCU, including eight as the offensive coordinator.

So, Schultz is doing his best to make this move stick and so is Middle Tennessee, which is on its third offensive coordinator in the past three seasons.

Schultz said he has no plans to change the offense that made the Blue Raiders so successful last season. He’ll make slight adjustments to fit his personal style, but nothing that will be that noticeable.

“There will be some tweaks in the run game and there will be some tweaks in the pass game, but I don’t think, unless you’re in on the meetings, you’ll see the difference,” Schultz said. “It will be very similar to what they were doing [before]. They’ve had great success here and [quarterback] Dwight [Dasher] has a great feel for the offense and knows what we’re trying to get done. The only thing that we’re trying to do is take a few of Tony’s ideas and build on that. Believe me, there’s not going to be a major overhaul. It’s going to be very minimum and we’ll try to stay within the system that was established here before.”

It helps that Middle Tennessee returns eight offensive starters, including Dasher, who ranked seventh in the country in total offense averaging 303.31 yards per game. And Dasher will have some extra help this year with running back Phillip Tanner back from a knee injury he suffered in the second game of the season.

The biggest losses are center Mark Thompson, and Patrick Honeycutt and Chris McClover, who were two of the team’s top three receivers.

Because there are so many returners, Schultz said he didn’t want to do anything too drastic.

“The one thing that I think Coach Stock wanted to do and I wanted to do was come in and keep our zone,” Schultz said. “Our kids, I think, we’re in a comfort zone; they had confidence, and that’s just me observing from the outside. So, it was very important to try and keep things as similar as we could so their comfort level would stay intact.”

Shultz said as difficult as the change is on him, it’s probably worse on the players, but even they’ve helped the new coach find his way. Schultz said during the first practice, Dasher recommended that the team run a drill similar to the way it was run last year and Schultz had no objection.

Other assistant coaches helped walk Schultz through certain parts of practice as well.

“The guys that I’m working with are unbelievable,” Schultz said. “There were four guys here that were left and those guys have been unbelievable about helping me. I’m going to have some of those growing pains early. Hopefully, I’m going to work my way through this.

"But right now, I’m concentrating on short-term goals and that’s get to the film room tonight and then trying to get through tomorrow’s practice.”
Middle Tennessee has hired Mike Schultz to replace Tony Franklin as the team’s offensive coordinator.

The hire is pending approval by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Schultz spent one year as the offensive coordinator at Illinois before being let go by Ron Zook after a 3-9 campaign.

"I am really excited about Mike and his wife, Cindy, and family joining our staff," coach Rick Stockstill said. "I really wanted to take my time in making this hire. Mike has everything I was looking for from his experience as a coordinator, coaching the quarterbacks, and is a fit to what we want to be offensively to being a very good recruiter. I look forward to rolling up our sleeves and going to work."

While Schultz has worked with both quarterbacks, he spent nine of his 11 season with TCU working with the running game. Under Schultz, the Horned Frogs were consistently among the best rushing teams in the country. Last season, the Illini ranked 17th in the nation in rushing.

Schultz inherits another run-heavy team in Middle Tennessee and a dual-threat quarterback in Dwight Dasher. Last season, Dasher was one of the nation's top offensive threats and led the Blue Raiders in both passing and rushing.

While Schultz is lauded for his work with the running attack, he did help TCU quarterback Andy Dalton set single-season TCU records for pass completions (222) and attempts (371) in 2007, his first season working exclusively with signal-callers.

However, he didn’t have the same luck at Illinois with junior dual threat Juice Williams. The Illini ranked 87th in passing offense last season after ranking 20th the year before. Illinois averaged almost 100 fewer yards passing than in 2008.

Schultz will be asked to pick up where Franklin left off, which won't be an easy task. Schultz does have the benefit of returning several offensive players from last year's 10-win team.
Middle Tennessee signed 20 players Wednesday, and coach Rick Stockstill announced that he still has five scholarships open.

"We still have five scholarships available due to the loss of four guys that I just found out about in early January and a fifth with the career-ending surgery for Jake Padrick,” Stockstill said. “I did not feel confident rushing in to take guys who we had not fully evaluated, but we will utilize those scholarships before August."

Stockstill noted that while he’s happy with the payers the Blue Raiders signed on offense, the team still needed two receivers and either an offensive lineman or a long-snapper.

Middle Tennessee addressed the loss of five players on defense, including linemen Chris McCoy and Brandon Perry, by signing 11 on that side of the ball. The Blue Raiders added four defensive linemen, four linebackers and three defensive backs.
Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill received a $200,000 raise, both for his 10-win season and to get him to stay around.

Louisiana-Monroe has named John Grieco its new strength and conditioning coach. Grieco joins coach Todd Berry from UNLV.

Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour is starting over at the Senior Bowl this week.

Miami-Dade athletes are helping to build the Central Florida football program.

Gary Patterson is already looking ahead to next season for TCU.
In a season where several non-AQ coaches made a jump to different schools, Rick Stockstill, Al Golden and Kevin Sumlin made the right moves to stay.

[+] EnlargeRick Stockstill
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireRick Stockstill led Middle Tennessee State to the first 10-win season in Sun Belt history.
All three coaches were on various coaching short lists and even interviewed for some of the more attractive positions that were available. But sometimes staying, especially when returning a gang of talent, is the best course with the opportunity for a better position down the road.

Rick Stockstill led Middle Tennessee State to a 10-win season -- the first team in the Sun Belt to achieve 10 wins -- and did so with a new offensive coordinator, new offensive system and a new quarterback. Stockstill’s coaching job was both surprising and admirable and it netted him interviews at East Carolina and Memphis. While both would have been a step up in conference stature, Stockstill currently has a better program than either of those teams and another stellar season could net him a better job in the future.

Temple’s Al Golden has steadily become a hot coaching commodity the past couple of seasons as he’s led the Owls out of college football obscurity and made them a viable contender in the Mid-American Conference. The Owls have gotten better each season Golden has been there and this year, he led them to their first bowl game since 1979. The Owls finished the season with nine wins, the most since winning 10 during that ’79 season.

Golden drew interest from almost every job opening this year, but only interviewed with Notre Dame.

Sumlin’s Houston team burst onto the scene in his second season as head coach after big wins against Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Mississippi State earned the Cougars a spot in the national rankings for the first time since the 90s. Quarterback Case Keenum led the nation in passing and total offense and was a finalist for the Davey O’Brien award.

Sumlin quickly became a hot name and drew interest from Notre Dame, Kansas, Cincinnati and Tennessee. But instead of abandoning a team that returns almost all of its starters, Sumlin decided to sign a six-year deal making him one of the higher paid non-AQ coaches in the country.

Interestingly, all three of these coaches have the same thing in common -- unfinished business.

All three were one win away from either a conference title or a chance at a conference title and came up short. Middle Tennessee’s loss to Troy early in the year cost the Blue Raiders the Sun Belt. Temple won nine in a row only to lose to Ohio in the final game of the season and miss the MAC championship. Houston won Conference USA’s West Division, but was manhandled in the conference title game by East Carolina.

While these three coaches had their own reasons for staying at their current respective school, finishing what they started will be the top priority heading into 2010. Each coach returns a significant portion of last year’s squad and should be the favorite in their respective divisions and conferences to win the title.

It’s unclear how much interest each of these coaches truly received from their suitors, but the fact that they stayed with their respective schools provides hope that they’re coaching for the right reasons.
Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill has reportedly been offered the East Carolina job, according to WKRN-2 in Nashville, Tenn.

Houston is expected to announce a new six-year deal for coach Kevin Sumlin that is worth $6.8 million.

Former Texas high school coach Chad Morris has been named Tulsa’s co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

New Central Michigan coach Dan Enos welcomed his first recruits this past weekend.

East Carolina recruits are holding firm despite the uncertainty with a new head coach.

Athletic receiver Kurt Davis was one of 13 recruits visiting UNLV this past weekend and ended up committing.