Sometimes we forget how criticisms of football coach affect the players on the team. For a number of players who chose to commit to a school in large part to their relationship with the head coach, criticisms about the coach can be taken somewhat personally. Take Michigan wide receiver Dennis Norfleet, for example. On Tuesday Norfleet acknowledged the increasing criticisms of his head coach, Brady Hoke. Norfleet’s response to that talk is a reminder there is much more to coaching than winning football games(or so they say).
“I took it to heart this morning, they were really talking down on coach Hoke, saying his time is coming,” Norfleet said. “Coach Hoke does a lot. For me and the team. There have been times when I needed to see my family at a critical time, or I needed to see my daughter and he was there by my side throughout the way. It’s more than (just) football. In life, he’s a good coach. And right now, the way people are talking about him I don’t feel — and the team doesn’t feel — that it’s right.
Norfleet then took aim at fans, specifically, that seem to have turned on Hoke. That image was painfully put on display Saturday when after a lengthy weather delay the vast majority of Michigan Stadium was left unfilled once the game resumed. There were more Utah fans remaining in Michigan Stadium than Michigan fans, it is estimated. Utah was leading comfortably at the time of the break in the fourth quarter, but the image was lasting regardless.
“If we lose, if you’re a Michigan fan you’re supposed to be with us 100 percent to pick us up,” Norfleet said. “We need our fans just as much as we need a win. So, yes, it hurts. It hurts a lot.”
This is not meant to be a pity party for Hoke. Hoke has many responsibilities in his role as head coach. Norfleet suggests Hoke does many things admirably, and that very well could be the case. Unfortunately, the bottom line is Michigan has failed to meet expectations on the field at a time when the Big Ten has more or less been there for the taking. Michigan has not played in a Big Ten championship game in the first three years it has bene in place and the win total has dipped each season since Hoke’s debut in Ann Arbor.
There is still time for Hoke to turn things around at Michigan. With Big Ten conference play opening up, it is as close to a clean slate as any coach or team can get in a regular season. What Hoke does with his clean slate could determine his fate at the end of the season.
The Boise State football team is the latest to see the beneficial side of the portal.
Earlier this month, Brock Miller entered his name into the NCAA transfer database. Two weeks later, the NC State linebacker announced on Twitter that he will be transferring into the Boise State football program.
As of yet, the Broncos have not announced Miller’s official addition to the roster.
Miller, a three-star 2016 signee, played in 31 games during his time with the Wolfpack. He started 13 of those appearances, including 11 in 2019.
This past season, his seven tackles for loss were tied for third on the team. He had 40 total tackles, which were good for eighth.
Miller is leaving the Wolfpack as a graduate transfer. Next season will be the Florida native’s final year of eligibility.
In December of 2017, Kukea Emmsley posted on Twitter that he dreamt of being a Boise State football player. A little over two years later, the dream is over. Or, it’s on its way to being over.
According to 247Sports.com, Emmsley has entered himself into the NCAA transfer database. The move to the portal by the redshirt defensive end would be the first step in leaving the Boise State football team. Emmsley could, though, pull his name and remain with the Broncos.
Conversely, the Boise State football program could pull his scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.
A four-star 2018 signee, Emmsley was rated as the No. 4 player regardless of position in the state of Hawaii. He was also the No. 25 outside linebacker in that class. Of the 25 recruits signed by Boise State football that year, only one on the defensive side of the ball, Chris Mitchell, was rated higher than Emmsley.
Despite that pedigree, Emmsley failed to live up to the pre-career billing.
As a true freshman in 2019, Emmsley took a redshirt. This past season, Emmsley made his Boise State debut in an Oct. 19 loss to BYU. As it turns out, that was Emmsley’s lone appearance.
Emmsley will likely have to sit out the 2020 season if he follows through on a transfer and moves to another FBS school. That would leave him with two years of eligibility beginning in 2021.
We don’t know yet who will be the head coach of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team. We do, though, now who it won’t be.
In days after Nick Rolovich left to replace Mike Leach at Washington State, Robert Anae‘s name has been mentioned prominently as a potential successor. Tuesday, however, the Virginia offensive coordinator announced in a statement that he has withdrawn his name from consideration for the job as the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors head coach.
“After careful consideration, I am withdrawing my application for the University of Hawaii head football coach position,” the statement began. “I have been overwhelmed with the commitment by Coach [Bronco] Mendenhall and the leadership of [athletic director] Carla Williams. I am excited and energized to close out our recruiting class as we continue our quest for the conference championship.”
The 61-year-old Anae, who played his college football at BYU, was born in Hawaii and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team. Anae just completed his fourth season as Virginia’s coordinator. He also coaches the team’s wide receivers.
With Anae out of the picture, Hawaii could stay in-house for its new head coach. Craig Stutzmann, UH’s quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator and Mark Banker, UH’s assistant head coach and linebackers coach, have been mentioned as possibilities. The offensive line coach at Syracuse, Mike Cavanaugh, has been floated as a possibility as well.
Count the Penn State football program as the next FBS school facing a potential personnel loss.
First reported by the SEC Network‘s Cole Cubelic, defensive end Daniel Joseph has taken the first step in leaving the Penn State football team by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database. 247Sports.com subsequently confirmed the initial report.
A four-star 2016 signee, Joseph was rated as the No. 12 strongside defensive end in the country and the No. 3 player regardless of position in the state of Illinois.
Joseph took a redshirt as a true freshman. The next three seasons, Joseph appeared in 33 games. A dozen of those appearances came during the 2019 campaign.
In those three seasons, the defensive lineman was credited with 29 tackles, 5½ tackles for loss, five sacks, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
On the last depth chart of the 2019 season, Joseph was listed No. 3 behind starter Yetur Gross-Matos and backup Shane Simmons. Gross-Matos confirmed in early December that he will be leaving the Nittany Lions early for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Joseph is the second Nittany Lion to hit the portal this offseason. Earlier this month, offensive lineman Hunter Kelly entered his name into the transfer database. Both Kelly and Joseph will be leaving the Penn State football team as graduate transfers.