This time of year often sees sparks lighting under various coaching hot seats around the country, most notably at high-profile college football programs. Two in the Big Ten that seem to have some pressure on them this fall can be found at Michigan with Brady Hoke and Nebraska with Bo Pelini. Neither coach is likely to be fired at the end of the season but both coaches are being looked to raise the bar at their respective programs. While Hoke has seen the win total diminish each season he has been in Ann Arbor, Pelini has been holding steady with identical 9-4 seasons for a few years running. Still, some expect more from Nebraska.
As far as Nebraska Athletics Director Shawn Eichorst is concerned, Pelini has no reason to worry about his job status. Eichorst says the Nebraska football program is in stable condition with Pelini at the helm and there is no need to make any changes.
”I really enjoy what he brings to the table,” Eichorst said to the Associated Press. ”He’s the first to admit he’s kind of walked that line a little bit. Everybody is different. You’ve got calm and collected, high strung and everything in between. I try not to make judgments about that.”
Eichorst has done his part to ensure Pelini has extra resources available to compete at a high level at a time when recruiting trends seem to be moving away from Nebraska, so there appears to be no tension between Pelini and the athletics director when it comes to the direction of the football program in Lincoln.
“We’ve done everything they’ve asked us to do, within reason, so to me that should be a sign of support right there,” Eichorst said.
Nebraska has not won a conference championship since winning the Big 12 title in 1999. The Huskers ended their run in the Big 12 with back-to-back Big 12 championship game appearances, falling to Texas and Oklahoma, and were trounced in the one Big Ten championship game they have played in their first three seasons in the new conference.
I don’t care where your allegiances lie, this is a pretty damn cool story.
Earlier this week, ESPN‘s Chris Low took a poll of Big 12 and SEC head coaches, 23 in all, and asked them the following question: If you had a son who was an elite football prospect and could play for any coach in America other than yourself, who would be your first choice?
The usual suspects were mentioned, among them: Alabama’s Nick Saban, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Miami’s Mark Richt, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. That venerable list received one vote apiece. Then there was Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald with two votes apiece, and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio and Stanford’s David Shaw with three each.
The top vote-getter? Bob Stoops of Oklahoma with five.
In an interview with Guerin Emig of Tulsa World in part regarding this poll specifically, Stoops relayed just how much it meant to him to be that respected by his counterparts.
It means more to me, maybe, than anything,” he said Thursday.
“That my peers, coaches, feel I treat kids the right way,” he said, “I don’t know, hopefully a good role model and mentor to them and coach, as well. It means a great deal to me.”
“I have such respect for all the coaches out there at all levels,” Stoops said. “So yeah, there’s no doubt that that’s very flattering. I’m honored they feel that way.
It’s one thing for a parent outside your profession to say they’d want you to coach/mentor/instruct/oversee/supervise your child. When it’s members of your own profession? As evidenced by the OU coach’s response, it doesn’t get any better or more humbling than that.
Being buried on the depth chart will ofttimes lead a player to move on and search for playing time elsewhere, and that’s what appears to be happening to the quarterback position at Tulane.
According to a report from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the newspaper has learned that Devin Powell has decided to transfer out of the Green Wave football program. It also appears a destination for the redshirt season is known: Nicholls State.
As the Colonels play at the FCS level, Powell would be able to play immediately in what will be his final season of collegiate eligibility.
For what it’s worth, Tulane officials have yet to address Powell’s status with the team moving forward.
Over the past four seasons, Powell started four games. He finished his Green Wave career by completing 51 percent of his passes (116-229) for 1,204 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. The New Orleans product also rushed for minus-43 yards on 42 carries, and was sacked 21 times.
According to the Times-Picayune, Powell exited the spring third on the Green Wave’s depth chart.
The bad news for San Diego State is that its backfield has taken a hit. The good news? They still have Donnell Pumphrey.
On the negative front, head coach Rocky Long indicated that, more than likely, Marcus Stamps will miss the entire 2016 season. The redshirt junior running back recently underwent surgery on his back, the nature of which wasn’t specified by the coach.
“He won’t be back this season, probably,” Long said according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “He felt something in his back during spring practice. They kept checking him out, then they suggested he get it operated on.”
Stamps played in the first eight games of the 2015 season before a knee injury essentially sidelined him the the remaining three regular season games plus two in the postseason — the Mountain West Championship game and Hawaii Bowl. During the time he was healthy, Stamps ran for 33 yards on 16 carries.
As long as Pumphrey is healthy, though, the Aztecs’ running game should be in fine shape.
Pumphrey’s 1,651 yards rushing were seventh nationally last year. Entering his senior season, Pumphrey needs just 318 yards to surpass Marshall Faulk (4,589 from 1991-93) for the most in school history.
In last year’s opener, Christian Bell suited up for Alabama in their opener against Wisconsin. For this year’s opener, he’ll be on that Big Ten team’s sideline as they take on yet another school from the SEC.
On his Twitter account Thursday, Bell announced that he has decided to transfer into the Wisconsin football program. Over this past weekend, the linebacker announced via the same social media site that he would be transferring from the Tide.
Barring the unexpected, Bell will be forced to sit out the 2016 season and thus won’t be in uniform when UW opens against LSU at Lambeau Field. Then beginning in 2017, though, he would have four seasons of eligibility remaining.
Bell took a “grayshirt” for the 2015 season, ultimately enrolling in classes at UA this past January. The Birmingham, Ala., native participated in spring practice with the Tide this year.
A three-star recruit according to 247Sports.com, Bell was rated as the No. 19 weakside defensive end in the country and the No. 17 player at any position in the state of Alabama.