Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

What do Urban Meyer and Jimbo Fisher have that Nick Saban doesn’t? A No. 1 overall NFL draft pick

3 Comments

The NFL draft is coming up later this week, and a handful of college football coaches could potentially have their first player chosen first overall. Among those looking to join a short list of active head coaches with a top overall draft pick on their watch includes Penn State’s James Franklin, USC’s Clay Helton and Wyoming’s Craig Bohl.

There are just six active head coaches in FBS that have sent a player to the top of the NFL draft order, and only one of those coaches are currently at the same school they had a player go No. 1 overall. Stanford’s David Shaw was the head coach of the Cardinal when Andrew Luck went with the first overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft to the Indianapolis Colts. The other five coaches on the current list have since moved on to another job since they had a player go with the first pick in the draft. Three of those active coaches will have new jobs starting this fall.

Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M was the head coach of Florida State when quarterback Jameis Winston went first overall in 2015. More recently, Sonny Dykes was the head coach at Cal when Jared Goff went to the Los Angeles Rams in 2016. Dykes is now the head coach at SMU. And just last year, Arizona’s Kevin Sumlin saw defensive end Myles Garrett go to the Cleveland Browns from Texas A&M with the first pick.

The two other coaches on the list of active coaches with a top draft pick are Urban Meyer of Ohio State and Mark Richt of Miami. Meyer was getting settled in at Florida after leaving Utah, but he was watching admirably as Utah quarterback Alex Smith went to the San Francisco 49ers with the first pick in 2005. Richt’s top draft pick from his time at Georgia was quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was taken first overall by the Detroit Lions in 2009.

You may have noticed (as if the headline didn’t give it away) there are some notable head coaches in college football without a top overall draft pick. Despite all the success of Nick Saban at Alabama, including a factory of NFL talent sent through the draft in recent years, a top overall pick continues to elude Saban. Not that he is worried about such a thing of course. Alabama’s NFL draft output is far more impressive when you realize quantity and quality are not short on supply in Tuscaloosa. During Saban’s time at Alabama, the highest draft pick from the school has been running back Trent Richardson with the third overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft (Cleveland Browns). Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus also went third overall to the Buffalo Bills in 2011.

But again, Alabama may not have a first overall pick, but the Crimson Tide lead the pack when it comes to first-round draft picks.

Here is a list of all the active head coaches with one No. 1 overall NFL draft pick:

  • Kevin Sumlin, Arizona: Myles Garrett, DE (2017)
  • Sonny Dykes, SMU: Jared Goff, QB (2016)
  • Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M: Jameis Winston, QB (2015)
  • David Shaw, Stanford: Andrew Luck, QB (2012)
  • Mark Richt, Miami: Matthew Stafford, QB (2009)
  • Urban Meyer, Ohio State: Alex Smith, QB (2005)

Wyoming’s Josh Allen is considered one of the favorites to be chosen with the first pick Thursday night in the NFL draft, which would add Craig Bohl to the list (and he gets some of the credit for No. 2 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Carson Wentz, too). Penn State running back Saquon Barkley would add James Franklin to the list. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is another trendy pick for the top pick, but his head coach, Jim Mora, is no longer an active coach at this time. Sam Darnold of USC would add Clay Helton to the list, and Lincoln Riley would make the jump into the conversation if Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield happens to go first overall.

We’ll find out Thursday night if a new coach joins the list or not.

FCS power North Dakota State rewards Klieman with contract extension

Leave a comment

After coaching FCS power North Dakota State to a fourth straight national championship, Chris Klieman has been rewarded with a two-year contract extension. The new deal will secure Klieman at North Dakota State through 2021.

“Chris understands the culture of Bison football and what it takes to continue the program’s high level of success,” athletic director Matt Larsen said in a released statement. “The excitement around the football program has never been greater and I look forward to having Chris and his family in Fargo for the long term.”

North Dakota State went 15-1 in 2014, highlighted by a victory over Big 12 school Iowa State and capped with a fourth straight FCS national championship. Klieman was as a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award.

“I’m excited to continue to build on the great tradition of Bison football,” Klieman said. “My family enjoys being in Fargo and I am extremely thankful for how this community and Bison Nation have embraced my family and me.”

Klieman succeeded Craig Bohl after the former Bison head coach accepted a job offer at Wyoming after three straight national championship seasons at North Dakota State.

Halftime: No. 2 Ducks overcome slow start to fly past Cowboys

2 Comments

The Wyoming Cowboys gave the No. 2 Oregon Ducks a scare in the first quarter before Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota took over during the second frame. Oregon entered halftime with a 27-7 lead.

But an opponent can never underestimate a team lead by Craig Bohl.

During Bohl’s final four seasons at FCS-power North Dakota State, the Bison beat Kansas, Minnesota, Colorado State and Kansas State. Bohl is looking for his first marquee win as the head coach of the Wyoming Cowboys, and he preferred it came at the expense of the No. 2 Oregon Ducks.

The Ducks had their hands full with the visiting Cowboys during the opening frame. Wyoming took an early 7-0 lead on an 18-yard touchdown pass to Tanner Gentry from quarterback Colby Kirkegaard.

Mariota responded during the first play of the second quarter. The quarterback bolted 15 yards to find pay dirt.

It was Mariota’s next touchdown run, though, which ignited the Ducks’ offense. With Oregon leading 13-7, Mariota rolled to his right and took off toward the end zone before he showed Oregon fans his best impersonation of Superman. The lead was extended to 27-7 before the half when Mariota found Devon Allen in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown connection. Mariota finished the half with 149 passing yards and 58 rushing yards.

Wyoming simply doesn’t have the athletes on either side of the ball to keep up with the Ducks. The Cowboys executed their game plan in the first half. Bohl’s team held the ball for over 20 minutes. But they only managed one score. Wyoming will have to play mistake-free football and slow Oregon’s offense in the second half to have a chance against Mariota and his Ducks.

Wyoming confirms loss of two players

1 Comment

Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl announced Saturday that two players have decided to leave the Cowboys. Citing personal reasons for the departures, Bohl confirmed senior offensive tackle Walker Madden and junior linebacker Devin McKenna each came to the decision to leave the program.

The loss of Madden means Wyoming will be without a linebacker who started 10 games last season, but the Cowboys still have the top three linebackers in total tackles from 2013 coming back this season. Senior Jordan Stanton led the team in total tackles in 2013, senior Mark Nzeocha was third on the team and sophomore Lucas Wacha was fifth on the team in total tackles.

McKenna was a walk-on lineman who joined the team last fall following a transfer from Sacred Heart College in Connecticut. He did not appear in any games for the Cowboys last season.

It is not known at this time if the players are seeking a transfer with the hopes of landing on a new team in time for the fall, although each would have eligibility remaining to do so.

Wyoming adds seven coaches from FCS champion North Dakota State

3 Comments

Wyoming is raising the bar with eyes set on building a championship program within the Mountain West Conference. To help do that, new head coach Craig Bohl is surrounding himself by familiar faces on his new coaching staff. Wyoming has announced the additions of seven new coaches to the staff while retaining one leftover from the previous coaching staff. the seven new names on the staff will follow Bohl from North Dakota State.

Many of the new coaches coming over from North Dakota State will be keeping their titles held under Bohl last season while some will see new responsibilities. Brent Vigen will take on the role of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Steve Stanard will be the new defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Stanard had served as a defensive coordinator in previous stops with Tulane, Colorado State,  and New Mexico State but will take on the title for the first time under Bohl.

Kenni Burns, a former Indiana running back, is the new wide receivers coach, the same job he had at North Dakota State. Other coaches keeping their North Dakota State titles under Bohl at Wyoming ate AJ Cooper (defensive ends and special teams), and Scott Fuchs (offensive line). John Richardson (cornerbacks) served as a defensive assistant for Bohl at North Dakota State but now has a specific title. Another staff member getting a more defined role on the staff is Gordie Haug, who will serve as the recruiting coordinator after helping out with the running backs at North Dakota State.

Pete Kaligis remains on the staff for Wyoming to coach the defensive tackles. The past five seasons Kaligas coached the offensive line and running backs. Wyoming has two coaching staff positions to be filled, although no timeline has been defined for when those role swill be filled.