Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer yells to his players during the first half of their NCAA college football game against Michigan at Ohio Stadium in Columbus

Perfection: ‘rebuilding’ Buckeyes cap unbeaten year with win over Wolverines

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There’ll be plenty of time to lament what might’ve been, what could’ve been for the 2012 Ohio State Buckeyes were it not for the shortsighted arrogance of school officials in 2011.

For now, it’s all about what is.  And what it is was the perfect end to a perfect, albeit bowl-less, season in Columbus, neatly wrapped in a bow that only a victory over That School Up North could provide.

On a day when Jim Tressel, the accidental architect of a 2012 postseason ban that will cost his beloved Buckeyes a shot at a BcS title, and his 2002 title team were honored, The Ohio State University paid tribute to the former coach, kicking four field goals en route to a sloppy-at-times 26-21 win over hated rival Michigan.

A first half that took on the look of the classic 2006 edition of The Game, with the Wolverines taking a 21-20 lead into the locker room, gave way to a defensive struggle over the last two quarters as the two teams combined for just six points, all off the right foot of OSU kicker Drew Basil.  The Wolverines turned the ball over four times on the day, including a fumble and interception on its last two possessions of the game that healed seal UM’s fate, while the Buckeyes were flagged for nine penalties.

It was a sloppy, uneven affair throughout, but in the end it was about an OSU defense not giving a damn for whether Devin Gardner or Denard Robinson was under center, or how suspect UM’s playcalling was at times, or even the whole state of Michigan.

It was about capping a perfect 12-0 season in Urban Meyer‘s first year at OSU, the sixth unbeaten, untied season for the school and the third for Meyer — at three different schools.  It was about further cementing their first-ever Leaders division title.  And, most of all, it was about sending the seniors out the only way that matters in the great state of Ohio, with a win over That School Up North.

Yes, as one of the only two remaining unbeatens left standing, these 2012 Buckeyes should be glued to their television sets tonight getting an early scouting report on its potential opponent in the BcS title game.  Thanks to Tressel’s lies and coverup, and a misguided decision on the part of school officials, that won’t be happening.

Still, in what was a “rebuilding” year for the Buckeyes, the program can hang its hat on an undefeated season capped by both a division title and a win over their hated rivals.  And can head into the offseason armed with the knowledge that only they, not the administration, can keep themselves from going one step further in Year Two of Urban renewal in Columbus.

Mike Locksley’s new role on Alabama staff will be co-offensive coordinator

PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 28:  Head coach Mike Locksley of the Maryland Terrapins looks on during a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at High Point Solutions Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
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Alabama took advantage of a staff opening on its coaching staff this week to promote Mike Locksley to a full-time offensive assistant’s role. Now, his role appears to be a bit more defined. According to a report from Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports, Locksley will be taking on the role of co-offensive coordinator.

Locksley has previous offensive coordinator experience, of course. Locksley coached the offense at Maryland and Illinois prior to arriving at Alabama. Feldman reports Locksley turned down “several coaching offers” so he could remain a part of the Alabama coaching staff for the 2017 season.

Locksley was previously added to the Alabama football staff as an analyst. Now he will share the offensive coordinator duties with another recently promoted analyst, Steve Sarkisian. Sarkisian was promoted to offensive coordinator in the week leading up to the College Football Playoff national championship game after Nick Saban made the decision to force Lane Kiffin out of the position and send his offensive coordinator to take on the full-time work of being the new head coach of FAU.

NCAA proposal to shut down spring break off-campus practices passes

FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2015, file photo, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh calls for a flag in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland in College Park, Md. Michigan and Florida both entered the season hoping to revive storied programs that had begun to look more pedestrian than they were accustomed to. Enter Wolverines coach Harbaugh and Gators coach Jim McElwain, who both brought their own style and approach to the sidelines in their first seasons on the job. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
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Michigan’s spring break trip to conduct spring practices at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida will be its last. An NCAA proposal to ban such trips outside of the college football season passed by a count of 58-22 on Friday.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh caught a lot of criticism for his decision to take Michigan’s spring practices down to Florida over Michigan’s spring break. The move was a bold strategy for Harbaugh and the Michigan program, but it ruffled the feathers of coaches from the ACC and SEC, leading to a move to ban such practice plans in the future. The debate over such a move was debated with similar intensity that satellite camps received, and now we await to see just how Harbuagh will respond, because he is known to chime in when something like this happens.

So no more trips to Florida for Michigan football players over spring break. That means Harbaugh will just have to go to the drawing board to find a new idea to find an edge.

Washington State coach Mike Leach fires a shot at the SEC

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 19: Head coach Mike Leach of the Washington State Cougars looks on from the sidelines during the second quarter of the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on October 19, 2013 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
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Washington State coach Mike Leach is known across the country as one of college football’s most interesting characters, rambling on from time-to-time about everything from pirates to the history of Geronimo. The latest subject the quirky head coach has turned his sights on? The big ol’ SEC.

The Jackson Clarion-Ledger spoke to Leach recently as part of a profile on new Ole Miss offensive coordinator Phil Longo, and let’s just say the Air Raid guru of the Palouse didn’t hold back when discussing the state of offenses in the league widely considered to be the best in the sport.

“I’ve got bad news for all these levels people,” Leach said. “Your level isn’t special, your conference isn’t special. All this different level this, different level that. That’s crazy.

 

“This is a great time to be in the SEC, everybody’s got the same offense: run right, run left, play action. And they tease themselves  and say we threw it four more times a game this year than we did last year.”

Leach, who coached in the league at Kentucky, also added some other, more colorful language to describe his impression of the SEC and the offenses teams run. While he did play at Auburn with the Cougars a few years ago, he clearly hasn’t kept up with the way things are trending down south as even pro-style stalwarts like Alabama and Arkansas are using more and more tempo and spread principles on a weekly basis.

Either way, let’s hope the Washington State athletic director is already making calls to schedule an SEC opponent in the coming years. If nothing else, any future appearance by Leach on the Paul Finebaum Show should be must-see entertainment.

Willie Taggart completes Oregon coaching staff with familiar face from USF

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 26: South Florida Bulls head coach Willie Taggart during the third quarter at Raymond James Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Jason Behnken / Getty Images)
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It probably took a little longer than most to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, but Willie Taggart has completed his coaching staff at Oregon and the latest addition is a familiar face.

The school announced Thursday afternoon that Raymond Woodie would be taking over as the Ducks’ new special teams coordinator, having previously spent the past four seasons at USF with Taggart and three more before that together at Western Kentucky.

Woodie most recently served as the Bulls’ defensive coordinator this past season but has been a linebackers coach dating back to 2012. He is regarded by many to be a quality recruiter with good ties to the state of Florida in particular and has also coached the defensive line. While his title makes him responsible for the third phase of the game for Oregon, he figures to also help out new defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt in some fashion as well.

The announcement is a bit of positive news for Taggart and the Ducks this week after a considerable bit of bad press for the program stemming from the revelation that multiple Oregon players wound up in the hospital following offseason workouts. New strength coach Irele Oderinde (who also came over from USF) was eventually suspended for one month without pay by the school as a result..