Tino Sunseri

Report: Sal Sunseri to leave Florida State for position with Oakland Raiders

6 Comments

Sal Sunseri doesn’t stay in one place for very long.

Florida State’s defensive ends coach worked with three different programs since the start of the 2009 season. His longest tenure since the start of the new millennium came from 2002-08 when he was the defensive line coach for the Carolina Panthers.

Sunseri is prepared to return to the NFL, according to Noles247.com.

“Multiple sources have informed Noles247 that Florida State defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri is headed to the NFL and he’s taking a job with the Oakland Raiders,” 247Sports.com’s Josh Newberg reported.

The Tallahassee Democrat‘s Corey Clark confirmed the initial report:

Since his coaching career began in 1985, the Raiders are the 12 different organization to employ Sunseri. The coach’s longest tenure at any stop was eight years at the University of Pittsburgh to begin his career.

Sunseri will now join Jack Del Rio‘s new staff. His exact role has yet to be revealed, but his only previous NFL experience came in Carolina working with the defensive line.

It seems to be the perfect time to leave Florida State, too.

The Seminoles lost their first game in two years during the Rose Bowl against the Oregon Ducks. The team also lost its two most talent defensive linemen, Eddie Goldman and Mario Edwards Jr., to the NFL draft.

With Sunseri’s departure, assistant head coach Odell Haggins will likely take full control of the defensive line.

Sunseri’s family clearly supports the move:

CFT Predicts: the ACC

18 Comments

As the 2013 season draws near, we peek into our crystal ball and guess project how each of the five major conferences will play out. Today, we examine the ACC.  

While we’re at it, be sure to check out our other conference predictions: SECBig Ten, Pac-12

Atlantic Division

1. Clemson (Last year: 11-2; beat LSU in Chick-fil-A Bowl) 
What happened last season?
The Tigers shook their ‘Clemsoning’ curse and previous Orange Bowl loss to West Virginia by going 11-2 and beating LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

So why are they ranked here?
Offense, offense, offense. And some offense sprinkled in. Quarterback Tajh Boyd is a legitimate Heisman candidate and he’ll have Sammy Watkins to throw to for a third straight year. Watkins had a bit of a sophomore slump in 2012 — at least by his standards — because of a variety of issues, from a suspension to injuries, but he still finished second on the team in receiving yards. His touchdown production should rise again after getting in the end zone just four times.

Anything else?
The defense improved under first-year coordinator Brent Venables. With as good as the Tigers offense projects to be, there’s more wiggle room on that side of the ball. Also, can Clemson finally beat South Carolina after dropping four straight games?

2. Florida State (Last year: 12-2; beat NIU in Orange Bowl) 
What happened last season?
The ‘Noles won the ACC and beat NIU in the Orange Bowl. They also pulled their annual head-scratcher by losing to North Carolina State. The circle never ends, it seems.

So why are they ranked here?
Talent isn’t a question Tallahassee, but there are a lot of new faces. Redshirt freshman Jameis Winston has a ton of upside at the quarterback spot, it just remains to be seen at this point how he handles his first year as starter. Wide receiver depth is becoming an issue too. The defensive line loses two pass rushers in Tank Carradine and Bjoern Werner, but that’s an area stacked — almost unfairly — with capable players.

Anything else?
Florida State had a whopping 11 NFL draft picks in April, but Jimbo Fisher also had to replace roughly half his coaching staff. That’s a lot of turnover and it’ll be interesting to see how players and coaches jell this year.

(more…)

Compass Bowl win caps great first year for Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss

12 Comments

Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, Penn State’s Bill O’Brien and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin are just some of the names college football fans may think of when the term “coach of the year” is used. First year coach for Ole Miss, Hugh Freeze, has earned the right to be in that discussion as well.

The Rebels capped a five-game turnaround from 2011 to 2012 with a 38-17 win over Pitt in the BBVA Compass Bowl to finish the season 7-6. Ole Miss got out to a quick 14-0 start in the first quarter with the help of an interception from Panthers quarterback Tino Sunseri, who played his final game with the program today.

Running back Ray Graham, Pitt’s leading rusher, missed the game because of an injury and freshman Rushel Shell filled in with 79 yards. Not that Graham would have changed the outcome of the game necessarily, but his absence represents what has helped Ole Miss over the past few months: catching a break or two.

The Rebels got some winnable early nonconference games while benefiting from bad years at Arkansas and Auburn. Ole Miss got close to few upsets against Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and LSU, but weren’t able to pull them off. If Freeze can recruit well — No.1 overall Robert Nkemdiche would be a nice start — the Rebels will start winning a few of those close games.

Based on the job he did in 2012, Freeze will be successful in Oxford.

Predictions 101 — BBVA Compass Bowl

7 Comments

Pittsburgh vs. Mississippi
Sat., Jan. 5 – 1 p.m. ET, ESPN
Birmingham, Ala. – Legion Field

OK, there’s excellent barbecue. But the compass has led Pittsburgh (6-6) on its third straight trip to Birmingham. So much for the wide and varied bowl experience of Pitt’s seniors.

Actually, with the way Pittsburgh began (losing against Youngstown State, starting 2-4), any postseason game should be satisfactory.

The Panthers offer some real problems. Senior QB Tino Sunseri has thrown 270 consecutive passes without an interception. Senior RB Ray Graham has his first 1,000-yard season.

First-year Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst held things together during a rough start and the Panthers were terrific in the season’s second half. They should’ve defeated Notre Dame (29-26 loss in three overtimes). Their defense surrendered just nine points in the last two games.

Mississippi (6-6) needed a season-ending victory against Mississippi State to get bowl eligible, but the Rebels were awfully feisty in losses against good competition such as Texas A&M (30-27), Vanderbilt (27-26) and LSU (41-35).

Opening point spread: Mississippi by 2

The pick: Pittsburgh 35, Mississippi 20

Click HERE to get predictions for the remaining bowl games.

Pair of upsets keeps Big East title race open for another week

8 Comments

Rutgers had an opportunity to run away with the Big East title today. All the Scarlet Knights had to do was defeat Pitt, which had just four wins on the season.

But, if there’s one thing Pitt is good at, it’s throwing a wrench in other teams’ championship hopes (right, West Virginia?). The Panthers pulled the upset over No. 21 Rutgers, winning 27-6. Panthers QB Tino Sunseri, as embattled as any QB in the history of the Pitt program, finished his career with a 227-yard performance and two touchdowns. Running back Ray Graham added another 113 yards and a score.

The loss keeps the Big East race alive for another week when Rutgers takes on Louisville. The No. 19 Cardinals lost in three overtimes to UConn this afternoon 23-20. QB Teddy Bridgewater turned in a gutsy performance, but was banged up with both wrist and knee injuries. His availability for next week’s game against the Scarlet Knights will definitely be a point of interest.

The Big East race is coming down to its two best teams in the final week . The conference should be excited about that. However, I’m not sure anyone was planning on Louisville and Rutgers to be entering the game coming off upset losses.