Pac-12: Tee Martin
- Athlon ranks Ka'Deem Carey its No. 5 Pac-12 running back of the BCS era.
- A new ASU quarterback is already making a name for himself.
- The Cal community will remember Ted Agu with a candlelight vigil Wednesday night.
- Former Colorado AD is hoping to make an impact at Cincinnati.
- Morgan Mahalak could be Oregon's quarterback of the future.
- Former OSU star Esera Tuaolo, one of the few former NFL players to come out as gay, weighs in on Michael Sam.
- A look at Stanford's quarterback situation, now and in the future.
- Athlon looks at the final consensus rankings for each recruiting class. UCLA is No. 4.
- Tee Martin named the Pac-12's top closer.
- Some more on Brian Johnson's departure.
- The Seattle City Attorney is reviewing allegations against Washington players.
- Some more details on the Gabe Marks arrest are emerging.
- Matt Scott stuck it out at Arizona, and the payoff came his senior year.
- Arizona State's Josh Hubner isn't your ordinary punter.
- Sonny Dykes' staff at California starts to take shape.
- The future is uncertain for longtime Colorado assistant coach Brian Cabral.
- For some Oregon folks, it feels like 2001 all over again.
- Oregon State is a nationally ranked, nine-win team with an on-going quarterback competition in advance of its bowl game, which is a bit odd.
- Stanford gets back to work, thinking Rose Bowl.
- A successful season earns UCLA players accolades.
- More on USC receivers coach Tee Martin's decision to stay with the Trojans instead of return to his alma mater, Tennessee.
- Utah's Star Lotulelei is an All-American.
- Five Washington questions for the Las Vegas Bowl.
- Some thoughts on Washington State recruiting.
- Ka'Deem Carey is on Heisman watch for 2013.
- The Sun Devils are doing what they can to mimic the Navy offense.
- Sonny Dykes won't retain any of Jeff Tedford's staff.
- Mike MacIntyre is confident he can rebuild at Colorado.
- The Ducks have upped the intensity in practice, but not for Kansas State.
- Some Oregon State notes as the Beavers begin to prep for the Alamo Bowl.
- David Shaw gives a quick take on Barry Alvarez coaching Wisconsin.
- Baylor provides a good test for UCLA's secondary.
- USC assistant Tee Martin is considering an offer from Tennessee.
- What was Utah's best game this season?
- Husky Nation is counting down the top five moments of 2012. Here's No. 5.
- The Cougars picked up a commit at cornerback.
- Some Pac-12 coordinators are on a list of possible replacements for MacIntyre at San Jose State -- including Derek Mason, Justin Wilcox and Noel Mazzone.
- Athlon Sports offers up its 2013 Top 25. Too soon?
Garry Paskwietz writes : While most of them aren't long-term maladies, a rash of injuries, especially on offense, has hampered USC's spring practice sessions.
Anyone miss me? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
I appreciate the notes of support in the mailbag. Blog Baby 2 and Blog Mother 1 are doing well. Blog 3-Year-Old and Blog Baby 2 have already engaged in a heated "Pac-12!" versus "SEC!" debate, with one of them punctuating his point with a "Roll Tide!" I blame his Alabama-born mother for that.
But enough about me. What about the mail?
Oh, and you can follow me on Twitter here, where I figure to be far more active next week.
To the notes!
Tyler from Minnesota writes: What elite defenses did Luck ever play against? I'm probably the only non believer when it comes the Luck hype. The % of QB's the NFL misses on is staggering. Why believe the talking heads?
Ted Miller: Luck played against -- and mostly lit up -- nine top-50 defenses over the past two seasons. He's played against many very good defenses and a lots of NFL draft choices -- past, present and future. Further, the reason many of the defenses he's played against don't rate as "elite" with some folks is because those defenses faced a horribly unfair burden.
They played against Luck and other Pac-12 offenses.
Why the hype for Luck? Well, he's got a good arm. He's extremely athletic at 6-foot-4, 237 pounds. He's accurate. He's bright. He's a humble team guy but is also highly competitive. He's a good leader. He's had no off-field issues. And no QB since Peyton Manning has entered the NFL draft with as high a football IQ.
In fact, if you wanted to make a good comparison, I'd call Luck pretty much Peyton Manning, only with much better mobility.
Of course, there are no guarantees with QBs. For one, being the No. 1 overall draft pick typically means you're going to be immediately starting for a terrible team.
But if I were a betting man, I'd set the over-under on his Pro Bowl selections at 10.
Dan from Irvine, Calif., writes: Do you think Rich Rod can actually deliver what has eluded my Wildcats ever since they entered the Pac back in 1978; a Pac-12 championship? Also, will my kitties make it to a bowl game with Mr. Matt Scott at the helm next year? My heart tells me "yes" for both but my head says probably not.
Ted Miller: Rich Rodriguez has been successful everywhere he has coached. He was a dynamic offensive innovator at Glenville State, Tulane and Clemson. He led West Virginia to a 60-26 record in seven years, including a pair of BCS bowls.
Michigan? Well, if you read the book, "Three and Out," by John Bacon -- and I'd recommend it -- you learn that Rodriguez was pretty much doomed from the start. He was left with a lousy team, a dysfunctional athletic department and a bitter former coach in Lloyd Carr, who was anything but supportive of Rodriguez, despite playing a key role in his getting the job instead of LSU's Les Miles. Further, Bacon's book does a convincing job of deconstructing Rodriguez's treatment by the Detroit media and mostly discredits the news story that provoked the NCAA investigation into practice time rules violations.
And Rodriguez's players looked pretty good this past season, going 11-2 and winning the Sugar Bowl.
So, yes, based on his pedigree, I think Rodriguez can deliver a first Rose Bowl to Arizona.
As for this year, the pieces seem to be in place for a fairly strong turnaround, though one of Rodriguez's refrains in "Three and Out" is how it takes a few years of teaching and recruiting for his systems to take hold. If Scott gets hurt, the Wildcats complete void behind him at QB will be a huge issue, so that fact likely will limit how much Scott will be asked to run the football in Rodriguez's spread-option.
So, sticking with a theme of over-under, I'd rate Arizona's at six wins in 2012.
Greg from Philo, Calif., writes: Lane Kiffin's picks for db, lb and wr coaches were totally out of the box. Genius or incompetence?
Ted Miller: I don't call coaches geniuses. Beethoven was a genius. Einstein was a genius. Louis C.K. is a genius. But I like these hires.
Marvin Sanders, who will coach the secondary, has a strong reputation, though his sudden departure from Nebraska a year ago was a bit strange -- the official explanation was "for personal and family reasons."
By the way, this came in the mailbag from Pete from Omaha:
As a Nebraska fan, USC fans should be absolutely thrilled about the Marvin Sanders hire. He coached arguably the best secondary in the nation two years in a row in 2009 and 2010 and in that time frame produced four NFL draft picks, including first rounder Prince Amukamara. Not to mention, he is also the guy who brought Alfonso Dennard to Nebraska and coached him up, another future first or second rounder. His secondaries embarrassed QB's like Colt McCoy, Jake Locker, and Blaine Gabbert (ALL were NFL starters this year). Gice credit to Bo and Carl for those defenses too, but Marvin is arguably the best secondary coach in college football. USC fans should be ecstatic. Nobody will be able to throw on USC once Marvin gets it going.
The one you might consider "outside the box" is Scottie Hazelton, who was hired a LBs coach after building a defensive power at North Dakota State, which won the FCS national championship this year. To that I say: "Chip Kelly." And then there should be silence (Kelly was New Hampshire's offensive coordinator before taking over the Oregon offense in 2007). This, in fact, feels like an inspired hire by Kiffin, one in which he clearly did a bit of homework.
Consider this from the FCS title game story on the Bison whipping top-seeded Sam Houston, 17-6:
Sam Houston (14-1) had its lowest-scoring game of the season, 33 points below its FCS-best average, and was denied an undefeated season and its first Football Championship Subdivision title. The Bearkats had only 210 total yards.
That should raise your eyebrows.
As for Martin, he talked to Kelly about a job at Oregon in 2009. Kelly and I actually chatted about Martin because I used to cover him back when he was the quarterback of Williamson High School in Mobile, Ala. He led Tennessee to the 1998 national championship the year after Peyton Manning left for the NFL. My sense is he's an up-and-coming coach with good recruiting skills, one who knows that coaching or playing under the warm and salubrious glow of the Pac-12 blog is a feeling like no other.
Dan from San Francisco writes: I'll risk a [Willie] Lyles question given that it's a downtime in the football calendar. In my understanding, the Lyles scandal has the potential to hurt Oregon the most in recruiting, both in terms of lost scholarships and in scaring players away. But given that USC has managed to do great in recruiting and on the field despite looming and already in effect sanctions, to what extent can Oregon coaches use USC as a blueprint to follow and as an example to show recruits should Oregon be hit by sanctions? In other words, to what extent could Chip Kelly tell recruits that sanctions aren't such a big deal, because "look at USC, they got hit and they're doing fine"? I realize that USC has much more going for it in recruiting than Oregon does, but I'm guessing that might be offset somewhat by more lenient sanctions for Oregon.
Ted Miller: I continue to believe that Oregon won't face severe sanctions for Le Affair de Willie Lyles. Oregon ranked 18th in the nation in recruiting this year, so it doesn't seem like recruits are terribly worried, either.
It's never good to lose scholarships as it reduces a program's margin for error in recruiting. Based on simple math, it's easier to be good with 85 scholarship players than with 75 scholarship players. But the Ducks aren't likely to lose 30 scholarships -- 10 out of three recruiting classes -- like USC.
Whatever the endgame is with Oregon and the NCAA on this, I don't anticipate the Ducks getting smacked in a way that substantially hurts their standing in the Pac-12 pecking order.
But the USC comparison doesn't work here for me. For one, this was USC's first of three recruiting classes under scholarship limitations, so the impact of those won't really hit until a year or two from now. We don't know how the Trojans will weather the restrictions, even if it does seem that Lane Kiffin has a vision of how to do it with minimal damage.
Further, as you note Dan, Oregon doesn't work from the same recruiting point A, both in terms of geography and tradition. So if Oregon did get hit hard -- even if it were just half as hard as what USC is presently dealing with -- the damage likely would be worse. A star player in recruiting-rich Southern California might go to USC just so his parents can see him play, and that would outweigh, say, a bowl ban. There are very few A-list recruits around Eugene, and said star from Southern California is less likely to head North to Oregon -- the rain! the chill! -- if the Ducks have NCAA issues.
Even though he'd still experience the warm and salubrious glow of the Pac-12 blog.
Sanders will serve as secondary coach and Hazelton will coach linebackers.
“Marvin had great success coaching the defensive backs at Nebraska and we believe that will translate well to our secondary, which is the most critical area we need to improve upon in 2012," Kiffin said in a statement. "Scottie is coming to us after helping North Dakota State win the NCAA FCS championship and coordinating a defense that led the nation in scoring defense in 2011, after it was 90th in that category before he took it over just two years ago.”
In December, Sanders, 44, was hired as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Florida Atlantic. Prior to that he spent three years as Nebraska's defensive backs coach.
Hazelton, 38, spent the past five seasons (2007-11) at North Dakota State, the first three handling the defensive line and the past two as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
Here's the full release, with a note that Kiffin expects to announce another assistant coach hiring soon, which is presumed to be Tee Martin as the wide receivers coach.
Erik McKinney writes : With only three tailbacks on the roster the coaches understand it's critical to add depth at the position in the next recruiting cycle.
WeAreSC Roundtable: The WeAreSC panel goes over some of the unlikely contributors to USC's "Tailback U" tradition.
Erik McKinney writes : USC's hire of Tee Martin as its new WR coach will pay dividends on the recruiting trail, especially in the Southeast.
Garry Paskwietz writes : USC hired Kentucky WR coach Tee Martin to fill its open WR coaching position.
WeAreSC chat wrap.
- Arizona still has a shot at landing Davonte Neal.
- Is former ASU linebacker Vontaze Burfict's draft stock slipping?
- Former Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks checks in as the No. 34 draft prospect by Sporting News.
- Colorado may have picked up the Pac-12's best running back crop with this recruiting class.
- Kenjon Barner might be the leading candidate for Oregon's running back spot, but he's not taking anything for granted.
- More on Oregon State hiring Trent Bray as a graduate assistant.
- Mike Mayock doesn't see former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck as a "once-in-a-lifetime-guy."
- Tim Tebow has been working out with UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone.
- USC picks Tee Martin as its new wide receivers coach.
- This one is a few days old, but in case you missed it, it's a really good story on Utah assistant coach Sharrieff Shah.
- Former Washington running back Chris Polk is projected to be drafted in the late second round or early third.
- Washington State is gearing up for its first spring with Mike Leach.
This is annoying: The SEC and Pac-10 only play one game in 2010 and, on paper, it doesn't look like much of a game.
Oregon, which figures to be ranked in or near the preseason top 10, visits a Tennessee team on Sept. 11 that is on its third coach in three years and is clearly rebuilding.
(Volunteers fans: Release your Lane Kiffin curses ... now!)
While Ducks fans over on the Pac-10 blog seem to believe this is going to be a butt kicking, I'm not so sure. Maybe it's because I was covering Auburn during the Phillip Fulmer glory days and can't imagine the Vols ever being anyone's patsy (in fact, I was covering preps and recruiting for the Mobile Register when a guy from Williamson High School by the name of Tamaurice Martin -- some called him "Tee" -- picked the Volunteers over Auburn).
Or maybe it's because the last time a highly ranked Pac-10 team thought it was going to deliver a whipping in Neyland Stadium, California face planted in 2006.
My hunch is this will be a competitive game. So, with that said, here are three keys for Tennessee to score the upset over the Ducks.
- Tauren Poole & Luke Stocker: The Volunteers are completely -- completely as in all five 2009 starters are gone -- rebuilding their offensive line. Oh, and their QB, whoever that ends up being between junior college transfer Matt Simms and true freshman Tyler Bray, will be seeing his first college action the previous weekend vs. UT-Martin. That's not good. But Poole at running back and Stocker at tight end are good. Perhaps even very good. The Ducks' defense is a veteran unit and extremely fast. They also run a lot of stunts, which can confuse a young O-line. But they aren't very big. So keep it simple on offense and get the ball to your money guys. Word on the street is Poole can make plays even when the blocking isn't perfect. And when the Ducks start obsessing about Poole, that would be the perfect time to dump it to the 6-foot-6, 253-pound Stocker and see what he can do in the secondary. A big target like Stocker could help a young QB gain some confidence, at which point he can start looking for his wideouts.
- Boise State & Ohio State: QB Jeremiah Masoli running coach Chip Kelly's spread-option offense was often a thing of beauty. But, you may have heard, Masoli won't be a problem in Knoxville. Further, it seems like defenses that have more than just one week to prepare have more success against the Ducks' spread-option -- see a pair of early-season losses to Boise State and the Rose Bowl defeat to Ohio State. The Vols will have the entire summer to familiarize themselves with Oregon's misdirection, as well as to get accustomed to the Ducks' extraordinary pace (their no-huddle is as fast-paced an offense as you will see). Ohio State often won one-on-one matchups up front. The Vols have some solid talent, experience and depth with their front seven, though it won't match the Buckeyes. Boise State often out-flanked the Ducks with an outstanding game plan. Wait a second! Where did that new, hotshot defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox come from? Boise State! Wilcox has faced the Ducks each of the past two seasons. He knows their scheme and their personnel. That's a huge advantage.
- Atmosphere: Before Cal's 2006 visit, the Bears downplayed the experience of playing in front of 100,000-plus fans. Southern humidity? Who cares! And then the Bears wilted, mentally and physically. One Cal player told me later that Neyland was such a "freak show" -- his term -- that it was a significant distraction. My guess is Vols fans thought their trip to Berkeley, where student protesters were living in trees, was a bit of a "freak show," too. But the Ducks won't be used to the atmosphere -- both the stadium size as well as the weather (summers in Eugene often demand a sweater at night). Aggravating matters, they will be sending out a mostly green QB to handle the pressure on the road. Senior Nate Costa has started only one game: at UCLA in 2009. Sophomore Darron Thomas came off the bench as a true freshman vs. Boise State in 2008 and led a stunning comeback, but he redshirted last year. In other words, instead of a two-year starter leading the Ducks' complicated offense in a hostile environment, they will be relying on an unproven guy. A couple of early mistakes, and that atmosphere could prove a significant factor.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
I'm a soft commitment to these links, meaning I may be visiting other links.
- Here's video of USC coach Pete Carroll from Thursday's press conference concerning Mark Sanchez entering the NFL draft a year early. Judge for yourself how angry he is that Sanchez opted to leave. Bill Plaschke on the uncomfortable breakup. And the ball now passes to ... we shall see.
- Arizona State is making a late recruiting push with some elite athletes.
- Oregon cornerback Jairus Byrd also will forgo his senior season, but he's keeping a window of return open. Tee Martin, a former Tennessee quarterback, interviews for the Ducks' receivers coach job.
- Checking in with Oregon State All-Stars and their NFL prospects.
- Steve Sarkisian has nearly completed hiring his staff at Washington.
- Mark Sanchez notwithstanding, Pac-10 players tend to stick around instead of entering the draft early.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Former Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin is talking to Oregon-coach-in-waiting Chip Kelly about becoming the Ducks quarterbacks coach, according to the Eugene Register-Guard.
Martin, a native of Mobile, Ala., who led the Volunteers to the 1998 national championship, played professionally in the NFL, NFL Europe and the CFL through 2005, but has worked for the Elite 11 Quarterback Camp for the past two years, according to the story.
Register-Guard reporter Rob Moseley further notes:
In that capacity, Martin has worked with UO recruit Tajh Boyd, a top prospect who has said he'll sign with either Oregon or Ohio State next month. Martin said the Boyd family retained him as a consultant for the recruiting process.