Pac-12: Rich Ellerson

Nonconference primer: Stanford

June, 27, 2013
We continue our series taking a closer look at each Pac-12 team's nonconference schedule.


San Jose State, Sept. 7
  • Coach: Ron Caragher, first year
  • 2012 record: 11-2, 5-1 WAC
  • Returning starters: seven offense, six defense
  • Offensive headliner: Quarterback David Fales returns as the FBS's most accurate quarterback from 2012. Last year he completed 72.5 percent of his throws while tossing 33 touchdowns and 4,193 yards.
  • Defensive headliner: Defensive tackle Travis Raciti returns after earning All-WAC honors last season. He posted 13 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks.
  • The skinny: Mike MacIntyre revitalized the struggling program and in three years had them at double-digit wins. Now Caragher shepherds them into the Mountain West Conference. Stanford has dominated the Bill Walsh Legacy Game -- though the Spartans gave them quite the scare last season. The Fales-to-Noel Grigsby connection could end up being one of the most dangerous in the country and should not be taken lightly.
at Army, Sept. 14
  • Coach: Rich Ellerson (17-32) fifth season
  • 2012 record: 2-10, Independent
  • Returning starters: seven offense, eight defense
  • Offensive headliner: Running back Raymond Maples is just the third Army player in school history to post consecutive 1,000 yard seasons after rushing for 1,215 yards and two touchdowns last year, averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
  • Defensive headliner: Defensive back Geoffrey Bacon returns after leading Army with 136 tackles last year -- which was fifth nationally in tackles per game at 11.3. This year he's moving from linebacker to the secondary.
  • The skinny: Despite the record, Army still had the No. 1 rushing attack in the country last year, averaging almost 370 yards on the ground per game. Match that against a Stanford front seven that was fifth nationally against the run and second in tackles for a loss and there should be plenty of helmet paint being traded.
Notre Dame, Nov. 30
  • Coach: Brian Kelly, (28-10), fourth year
  • Returning starters: six offense, eight defense
  • 2012 record: 12-1, Independent
  • Offensive headliner: We talked about left tackle Zack Martin in the ASU nonconference primer. He'll be clearing the way for George Atkinson III, who averaged 7.1 yards per carry last year and scored five touchdowns on 361 rushing yards.
  • Defensive headliner: We mentioned Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix in the ASU article. Nix is phenomenal at stopping the run, which is worth noting again, given what the Cardinal will want to do on offense.
  • The skinny: Stanford head coach David Shaw pointed to the Notre Dame game last year -- and its highly-controversial ending -- as a turning point for the Cardinal's run to the Rose Bowl. This one is the season finale for both teams so it's possible that it could have national-championship implications for both squads.
Thoughts: A fairly challenging nonconference slate. Remember after the season opener last year, we were all wondering what was wrong with Stanford? Turns out San Jose State was pretty darn good. Shaw told us, we didn't listen. Considering who the Spartans have coming back, chances are they'll be good again. Interestingly enough, Caragher replaced Jim Harbaugh and Shaw at USD after the duo left for Stanford, so there's your Kevin Bacon moment for this game. Army doesn't pose much of a threat on the field and, of course, the Notre Dame game was one of the most controversial matchups in all of college football last season. The Cardinal are legitimate BCS championship contenders. Should they top San Jose State -- which should be considered a quality win, or at least, not a cupcake win -- it points them in the right direction heading into a difficult Pac-12 slate. Should they escape that unscathed, a home date with the Irish could determine Stanford's postseason placement. And for a team looking to add a fourth-straight BCS game, nay the BCS game, only 3-0 will do.
It's no secret that success is often tied to coaching continuity. For example, see Ducks, Oregon.

According to Pete Roussel of, Oregon is the only team in the country that has not had any coaching turnover since 2009.

Writes Roussel:
Tomorrow, former Georgetown assistant Luke Thompson officially joins Rich Ellerson's staff at Army, which means Chip Kelly's staff at Oregon will be the only staff in the country that has remained completely intact since start of the 2009 season. All nine full-time assistant coaches that began the 2009 season with Kelly remain on the staff in coaching positions.

Think about that. There are over 120 major college football programs and only one will have the same nine coaches for four consecutive seasons.

It's an interesting breakdown. A few other Pac-12 teams are mentioned in the article. Stanford is listed as having the same offensive coordinator since 2010. Roussel refers to David Shaw as "technically" the offensive coordinator, though I think Pep Hamilton and his 97 percent red zone efficiency last year might take exception to that.

San Diego State is also listed as one of the 17 teams with no coaching turnover, though offensive line coach Dan Finn left the Aztecs last month to return to Utah -- where he was a former graduate assistant.

Still, it's an impressive note about Oregon and a credit to Kelly and his staff, which has gone 34-6 and 25-2 in the conference during that span.

Kelly an armed forces volunteer

May, 18, 2010
Seeing that every misdeed in the state of Oregon this offseason got plenty ink, here's one for the good guys: Oregon's Chip Kelly not only is joining other coaches on an overseas tour of U.S. military installations this month, he volunteered for the mission.

According to the Eugene Register-Guard: "Kelly will travel Friday to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, before heading overseas along with Army’s Rich Ellerson, Harvard’s Tim Murphy, Tommy Tuberville of Texas Tech and Ron Zook of Illinois. The first foreign stop will be at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, and Kelly said the tour will also take them to Iraq and Afghanistan."

The coaches, who will spend at least one night aboard a naval ship, not only chat with troops and sign autographs, they also will conduct "combine-style workouts" as well as coach a couple of flag football games, one of which will be the annual Under Armour Dust Bowl, which is Army vs. Air Force "with some Marines sprinkled in."

Guess here is that one might get fairly intense.

Kelly & Co. are scheduled to return to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on May 31, Memorial Day. They also may visit the White House.