Matt Campbell

Toledo strips interim tag off Campbell’s title

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For the first time during this most recent spin of the coaching carousel, an interim head coach will remain at a school in a permanent capacity.

At a press conference Monday evening, Toledo announced Matt Campbell will be its new head football coach.  Campbell had been named interim head coach when Tim Beckman left to take over the Illinois football program.

Beckman had offered Campbell the Illini coordinator job but, obviously, declined to take over his own program for the first time.

“I’m honored to become the next head football coach at the University of Toledo,” said Campbell. “I would like to thank [athletic director] Mike O’Brien and President Lloyd Jacobs for giving me this opportunity. I would also like to thank Tim Beckman, the Rocket coaching staff and most of all the young men on this football team who have helped me reach my goal of becoming a head football coach. Finally, I would like to thank my parents and my wife, Erica, for all their love and support in helping make this day possible.”

“We are very pleased that Matt Campbell has agreed to become the head football coach at the University of Toledo,” said O’Brien. “There is no doubt that Matt has done a terrific job in his three years as our offensive coordinator. The performance of our offense speaks for itself. But I have also been very impressed with Matt as a person and as a leader of young men. He is quite simply a very exceptional football coach, and I believe the best person to lead this program going forward. We are very excited for the future of Rocket football under Matt’s guidance.”

The 32-year-old Campbell has served as the Rockets’ offensive coordinator the past three seasons.  He will coach the Rockets Dec. 28 vs. Air Force in the Military Bowl.

(Photo courtesy of the University of Toledo)

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian
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Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.