Associated Press

It’s early, but Texas high school QBs are dominating the total offense charts

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We’re just three weeks into this marathon 2015 college football season, but one definite trend has emerged – or, perhaps more accurately, continued: if you want to move the ball in a big way, get a quarterback from a Texas high school.

Former Texas high school gun slingers occupy five of the top six total offense spots thus far, and the other – Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson – runs an offense under the tutelage of Dino Babers, who copied his playbook from Texas high school legend Art Briles during his time as a Baylor assistant.

Here’s the list:

  1. Matt Johnson (Bowling Green/Harrisburg, Pa.): 1,416 total yards, 472 yards per game
  2. Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma/Austin, Texas): 1,201 total yards, 400.3 yards per game
  3. Seth Russell (Baylor/Garland, Texas): 782 total yards/391 yards per game
  4. Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech/Whitehouse, Texas): 1,158 total yards/386 yards per game
  5. Dane Evans (Tulsa/Sanger, Texas): 1,153 total yards/384.3 yards per game
  6. Trevone Boykin (TCU/Mesquite, Texas): 1,133 total yards/377.7 yards per game

Furthermore, Lone Star State signal callers Greg Ward, Jr. (Houston/Tyler, Texas) and Skyler Howard (West Virginia/Fort Worth, Texas) rank ninth and 11th, respectively, Matt Davis (SMU/Houston) stands at 17th, and Jerrod Heard (Texas/Denton, Texas) racked up a school-record 527 yards of total offense in Saturday night’s loss to California.

This is not a new trend. After all, we all remember the 2008 season when Colt McCoyGraham HarrellRobert Griffin III, Chase Daniel and Todd Reesing lit up the midwestern skies. But it does confirm that when coaches go quarterback shopping, they should start in Texas and look outward from there.

The Fifth Quarter: Week 1 Rewind

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As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

WACK-12
The Pac-12 came into the 2015 season looking to challenge the SEC for conference football supremacy.  While that may end up still being the case, it was a rough Week 1 in myriad regards for the Left Coast league, particularly its northern division.

First and foremost, No. 21 Stanford went into Evanston as heavy favorites only to be upended and upset by Northwestern.  And it wasn’t just that one of the preseason favorites in the North was beaten, it was that they were roughed up by the Wildcats and seemed to play timid on both sides of the ball.  More embarrassingly, a couple of hours later Washington State lost to FCS Portland State, which came into the game a 30-point underdog.

The South contributed to the first-week malaise as No. 15 Arizona State, viewed by some as a darkhorse playoff candidate (sheepishly raises hand), capped off the night with a 20-point loss to unranked Texas A&M.  At least that, though, was a loss to a Power Five school, and one from the stacked SEC West no less, in what was essentially a home game for the Aggies.

Add in Washington’s loss to Boise State — no shame in that — and Colorado’s loss to Hawaii Thursday night — a whole hell of a lot of shame in that — and it turned into a horrific lost weekend for the conference.  That said, remember how many were writing the Big Ten off a year ago at this time?  Yeah, it wouldn’t be wise to repeat that history.

WEAK 1?
If you thought that the Week 1 schedule, especially Saturday, was especially lacking when it came to compelling on-paper matchups, you’re not alone.  In fact, the raw data is sitting right along side you.

Opening weekend, and including the two still remaining, there were/are 87 games involving FBS teams.  Of that, 11 pitted Power Five vs. Power Five (for this exercise, I’m considering BYU a P5); another 47 — more than half — featured FBS teams playing an FCS team.  There were 22 Power Five teams that opened their season against an FCS team, with the ACC far and away leading the cupcake way with seven.  The Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 had four apiece, while the pastry alley that is the late-season SEC lagged behind with three.

There were also 23 games played between Power Five and Group of Five teams.  The SEC accounted for eight of those games, while the Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 saw four each.  The FCS-heavy ACC had three such games.

It wasn’t just the Power Fives feeding on the FCS, though, as 25 Group of Five teams opened against the former Div. 1-AA.  The remaining six games saw Group of Five squads squaring off against each other.

While most of the FBS feasted on their FCS cupcakes, a handful choked on them.  Two that lost to FCS teams were Power Five members in the aforementioned Wazzu and Kansas (South Dakota State, more on that below) and two were Group of Five teams in Army (Fordham) and Wyoming (North Dakota).

BAD BLOOD CHEAP SHOT?
Vernon Adams transferred from Eastern Washington to Oregon earlier this offseason and ultimately earned the Ducks’ starting quarterback job.  As luck would have it, Adams’ current and former teams squared off in the season opener in Autzen Saturday night, and there was one interesting development in UO’s 61-42 win.

(more…)

SMU’s plan to find a new head coach

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June Jones stepped down as SMU’s head football coach on Sept. 8. A month later, Rick Hart detailed the university’s plan to replace Jones.

Hart wrote a letter to the Mustangs’ fan base, which was published Wednesday on the school’s official website.

Here are the pertinent excerpts to the school’s four-point plan to find a new head coach:

First, we have engaged Todd Turner, President and Founder of Collegiate Sports Associates and former AD at UConn, NC State, Vanderbilt and Washington, to assist us with certain aspects of the search process. … He will make initial contact with targeted coaches, assessing potential interest and fit for the position, as well as helping with background checks and other processes.

Second, the Board of Trustees Athletics Committee will serve a valuable role as the primary advisory group as we prepare to identify and recruit the next head football coach at SMU. The Athletics Committee met on Monday to refine and confirm certain elements of the process, such as our case statement, position description and head coach profile. They also provided feedback regarding our expectations in key areas, such as academics, civility, competitiveness, and recruiting.

Third, we are seeking input from constituents beyond members of the Athletics Committee, such as the Athletics Council, Circle of Champions, Mustang Club Board, Lettermen’s Association (and former football players), Deans, the Texas High School Coaches’ Association, Ticket Holders and Student-Athletes. We want to make sure we are informed as we prepare to identify specific candidates.

Finally, a small search committee has been formed consisting of representatives from the Board of Trustees, Athletics Committee, Athletics Council, Faculty and Athletics Department leadership. This group will work with me to evaluate candidates and determine our top targets in alignment with our agreed-upon profile and standards shaped by our interactions with the various stakeholders and access to data as outlined herein.

Hart also designated this month as the prime opportunity to identify potential candidates and reach out to them if an opportunity presents itself. The athletic director didn’t provide a timetable for when a hire could actually occur.

There shouldn’t be a shortage of candidates, though.

The program reportedly called former Texas head coach Mack Brown, while Brown considers whether or not he wants to return to coaching. Former Ole Miss (and Arkansas and Boise State) head coach Houston Nutt is also interested. Former Texas offensive coordinator and quarterback Major Applewhite already applied for the position. And a new name has been linked to the program:

Morris is a legend in the state of Texas after coaching at the high school level for 16 years with a 169-38 record and back-to-back undefeated state championships.

Morris is now one of college football’s highest paid coordinators, and one of the top assistants primed for a head coaching job. Clemson’s offensive coordinator refrained from taking any other positions in recent years, but a return to his home state could be exactly the type of situation Morris is searching for.

SMU could also be used as a stepping stone for a coach like Morris, who doesn’t have head coaching experience at the major college level but still has goals of leading a top program.

It won’t hurt Hart to call and gauge Morris’ interest. The worst that can happen is the talented offensive coordinator decides he’s not interested.