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The Joker

The Joker

Member Since 21 Jul 2004
Offline Last Active Today, 07:22 AM

Sources: Gamecocks Eyeing Will Muschamp

24 September 2014 - 04:17 PM

Sources: Gamecocks Eyeing Will Muschamp


By FITSNews  ||  University of Florida head coach Will Muschamp is unlikely to hold onto his current job title much longer.  After a disastrous 4-8 season in 2013, Muschamp’s Florida Gators needed to show something last weekend on the national stage against No. 3 Alabama.

And they did show something … just not anything good .

Florida surrendered 645 yards and 45 points to the Crimson Tide – and it would have been worse had Alabama not committed four turnovers (including a fumble returned for a touchdown by the Gator defense).

The bottom line for Muschamp is simple: He needs to win at least one of his next two games in order to keep his job.  If he loses on the road against Tennessee on October 4 – and at home on October 11 against LSU – he’s toast.

Meanwhile in Columbia, S.C., University of South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier is looking at some incredibly troubling numbers.  The Gamecock defense has been shredded to the tune of 36 points a game through its first four contests.  Coordinator Lorenzo Ward‘s unit ranks No. 106 in scoring defense (out of 128 FBS programs), No. 111 in total defense and No. 116 in passing defense.
Opponents are completing 70 percent of their passes against Ward’s unit – and amassing 146 yards per game after the catch.  Both of those are SEC-worst figures.  Opponents are also rushing for 5.8 yards per carry against South Carolina and picking up 66 yards per game before contact – again, both of those being the worst numbers in the SEC.

We understand that Ward has lost some insanely talented players from last year’s squad – most notably No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney – but South Carolina is still a major college program isn’t it?  One that awards scholarships, right?
Anyway …

If (and increasingly “when”) Muschamp loses his job in Gainesville, he may not have to wait long to find a new gig.

Multiple sources close to the University of South Carolina football program tell FITS the 43-year-old Georgia native is being eyed for a job as the Gamecocks’ next defensive coordinator.  In fact our sources say Spurrier is lobbying hard for Muschamp’s hiring owing to two things: 1) Muschamp’s previous success as a defensive coach and, 2) the friendship the two SEC East rivals have struck up in recent years.

Muschamp – who played his college ball at Georgia – has built elite defenses at LSU, Auburn and Texas.  In fact his 2003 LSU defense – which helped power Nick Saban’s Tigers to a national championship – is regarded as one of the best defensive units in college football history.

Muschamp and Spurrier also get along famously – dating back to a courtesy call made by Muschamp after he took the Florida job in December 2010.

“Will is a good guy, a good coach and a good family guy,” Spurrier said this summer as the two coaches flew together to Bristol, Connecticut for an ESPN event.

The admiration is mutual.

“I consider him a friend, certainly, but a guy that I look up to,” Muschamp said of Spurrier.  ”Over the course of his career as a player and coach at the University of Florida, it’s absolutely amazing what he’s accomplished. I enjoy being around Coach Spurrier. He’s as quick-witted as anyone you’ve ever been around. I appreciate his honesty in how he handles his business, and what he’s done at South Carolina has been outstanding.”

“He’s a Hall of Fame football coach and it’s an honor to be able to talk to him about our profession and to build a friendship,” Muschamp added.
Spurrier has been vocal in his criticism of South Carolina’s defensive performance so far this season (it’s impossible not to be critical) – but he’s avoided going after Ward, who took over the reins of the Gamecock defense from Ellis Johnson following the 2011 season.
Obviously anything can happen over the next month – and beyond.  Both Muschamp and Ward will have opportunities in the coming weeks to remove themselves from their respective hot seats, although if the Gators lose to both Tennessee and LSU there’s no way Muschamp will still be roving the Gator sidelines when Missouri comes to “The Swamp” on October 18.

As for Ward, if a Gamecock defensive collapse results in a loss to either Missouri or Kentucky – expect the calls for his ouster to intensify.


Caption This..... Spurrier & Richt

16 September 2014 - 07:50 AM

Posted Image

Richt plans to discuss calls with SEC officials

15 September 2014 - 06:53 AM

Richt plans to discuss calls with SEC officials

By Seth Emerson
semerson@maconcom.com September 14, 2014

ATHENS — Mark Richt admitted immediately after Saturday’s game that he regretted his team’s now-infamous play call on first-and-goal. A day later, Georgia’s head coach said that wasn’t his only issue with the play.

An intentional grounding penalty on Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason pushed the ball from South Carolina’s 4 to the 14, and a few plays later Marshall Morgan missed a field goal that would have tied the game with four minutes left. It was the difference as Georgia lost 38-35.

But upon watching tape Sunday, Richt was convinced that Mason’s throw did hit a defender, which would normally nullify intentional grounding. Richt said he would send the tape to the SEC office to ask for an interpretation.

“It definitely hit the defender, and I’m going to be asking the officials what the ruling is on that,” Richt said. “I don’t know if they saw it while it happened or not. But as it deflected off the defender there was nobody in the area where the ball landed, I know that. But if the ball didn’t get hit by the defender it would have landed a lot closer to one of our eligible receivers. So I don’t know if we would have gotten called for that or not. It’s a good question.”

Of course, if Georgia had just handed the ball to superstar tailback Todd Gurley on first down from the 4, the play wouldn’t be an issue. Richt said twice in his postgame news conference that he wished they had done that.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo was not available to the media after the game.

Richt also planned to discuss another key call: a holding call against left guard Brandon Kublanow that nullified Gurley’s 54-yard touchdown run in the first half. Georgia ended up punting a couple plays later.

“On that particular play, we thought Kublanow was in the framework of the defender, and we thought it was legal,” Richt said.

Kublanow was called for the penalty when he apparently brought a defensive lineman to the ground. But the film showed, according to Richt, that another player — it wasn’t clear whether the player was from South Carolina or from Georgia — clipped the back of the defensive lineman’s leg.

“He kind of got tripped up and landed, and it kind of looked like Kublanow grabbed him and slammed (him) to the ground,” Richt said. “But in reality he got tripped up by someone behind him. So it may have appeared that it was kind of a takedown. I really don’t think it was. But we’ll see what they think after reviewing that.”

Richt also mentioned that South Carolina receivers might have gotten away with physical contact on some plays.

Richt’s comments Sunday were in response to questions on his standard Sunday teleconference with the media.

There were questionable calls against South Carolina, as well:

• On the interception return by Georgia’s Damian Swann that set up the first-and-goal, a chop block was called against a Gamecocks player, a curious call to make on a team presumably trying to make a tackle.

• Gurley also appeared to be heavily involved in a fracas that only resulted in an unsportsmanlike call against the Gamecocks.
It’s standard procedure for Georgia and other schools to send video to the SEC office for an interpretation. The ensuing feedback and conversations are almost always kept private.

“Steve Shaw (the SEC coordinator of officials) does a great job of looking at it, reviewing it and giving his honest opinion of what should have happened,” Richt said. “There’s times they’ll say that should’ve been a foul, there’s times they say that shouldn’t have been a foul, or ‘I agree with what you’re saying, Coach,’ or ‘I don’t quite see it that way.’ We just get good, honest feedback, and I think it’s helpful to hear it, and I think it’s helpful to keep training up their officials on a weekly basis.”

The bigger problem for Georgia right now is its secondary, as South Carolina racked up 271 passing yards, most of it in the first half. Richt said he and the defensive staff had a “brief conversation” Sunday about some personnel moves.

“We just talked about the possibility of a couple guys that might get some work and continue to keep guys fresh throughout a ballgame,” Richt said. “We subbed a little bit less this last ballgame, probably.”

Prodded further, Richt clarified that he felt there was as much subbing on the front seven, just not in the secondary, although there was some there. Richt said he felt the secondary issues were a combination of a lot of issues, from communication to players jumping routes to South Carolina’s skill.

“We jumped on some underneath routes that opened up some things behind us,” Richt said. “And some of that quite frankly was just some good throwing and catching. There were some accurate throws. We were in really good position sometimes.”

The lack of a pass rush was also paramount, a point Richt reiterated Sunday. That doesn’t necessarily mean sacks, he said, but just squeezing the pocket to make it uncomfortable for the quarterback.

“The pocket was just too often too wide and too spacious, too comfortable,” Richt said. “So we’ve gotta create a situation where the quarterback doesn’t feel quite as safe back there.”


USC AD Pat Haden should resign from the Playoff committee

07 September 2014 - 06:07 AM

USC AD Pat Haden should resign from the Playoff committee

Dan Wolken, USA TODAY Sports

USC athletics director Pat Haden should resign from the College Football Playoff selection committee, and he should do it today. If he refuses, CFP executive director Bill Hancock should nudge him in that direction. And if Hancock doesn't want to go down that road, the 10 commissioners of the Football Bowl Subdivision conferences should intervene and demand a change.

What Haden did Saturday in the third quarter of USC's 13-10 victory against Stanford was unacceptable — unacceptable for any athletics director, but particularly one who will represent the Pac 12 on the CFP selection committee.

It all started when USC linebacker Hayes Pullard was ejected for a hit on Stanford's Ty Montgomery during a kickoff return. Whether the penalty was warranted or not — and Pullard, for the record, pretty clearly led with the helmet — it was shocking to see things get so out of sorts on the USC sideline that suddenly Haden popped up in the middle of the scrum, angrily going nose-to-nose with the officials.

Haden told USA TODAY Sports' Paul Myerberg immediately after the game that he had not gone to the field to argue the targeting call, but was seeking clarification on a warning that USC coach Steve Sarkisian received for Sarkisian's position on the sideline. He said he received a text from a USC staff member to come down to the field.

"I wasn't sure what play (the USC coaches) were concerned about," Haden said. "It was for the delay of game on the kickoff. (The officials) warned (Sarkisian) about being out of the box. They know what they are doing. I didn't really add anything to the conversation. I just listened. Everything worked out fine."

But have you ever seen an athletics director talk to a referee during a game, much less argue with one? That isn't merely bad form; it is simply not done.

And frankly, it was embarrassing for both Haden and the CFP selection committee.

The 13 people selected to pick the participants in college football's first playoff were done so because of their integrity, their ability to be impartial and their level-headedness in a high-pressure job with tremendous public scrutiny.

An athletics director running down to argue penalties and making a spectacle of himself on national television does not exactly scream impartiality and level-headedness.

Athletics directors are supposed to be out of sight, out of mind during games. Some are more demonstrative than others. But they all know they have to keep their control.


Haden lost it, and it would be bad enough if this incident was just about Haden and USC. He could apologize and move on, and few would remember it happened on a random Saturday in September. Problem is, it's about all of college football now.

The committee has to be above reproach. This wasn't above anything; it was Haden getting into the muck and involving himself in a situation that wasn't his business. ​

Shortly after the incident, Haden did an interview with ABC and tried to explain that Sarkisian wanted him to come down to the field.

That's odd, but whatever. The problem came when Haden talked to officials. At that point, he should have walked away.
"It's been a really frustrating quarter," Haden told ABC.

Sorry Pat, but that doesn't justify what the nation saw. You lost your cool, and now you should lose your place on the selection committee.
Hancock responded to an email that he had not seen the sideline engagement and thus could not comment.


FSU investigating Jameis Winston - Title IX Requirement

05 September 2014 - 07:24 AM

FSU investigating Jameis Winston

Updated: September 5, 2014, 12:58 AM ET
By Jared Shanker and Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

Mark Schlabach discusses Florida State University beginning a required investigation into Jameis Winston in relation to the alleged 2012 rape of a female student, despite the state's declining to charge Winston in the matter.

Florida State has begun conducting a required investigation into Jameis Winston in relation to 2012 accusations of rape by a female student despite the state's declining to charge the quarterback in the matter.

An attorney representing Winston's accuser says FSU is following through with its Title IX investigation and that school officials interviewed the woman for the first time in early August. She initially reported the alleged rape to police in December 2012.
It was a development Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said wouldn't serve as a distraction for the top-ranked football team.
"No, this team moves on," Fisher said Thursday. "I have no idea how that'll go, what it's about. That's for other people to find out. We're just here playing ball."

John Clune, the woman's attorney, said in interviews with USA Today and ESPN.com that they were surprised by the timing of the investigation but that it was what the school was "required to do all along."

Clune said an Aug. 7 interview between his client and the school "went pretty well."

"I think it was a positive experience, and everyone felt like the university was taking it very seriously," Clune told USA Today.

The school also interviewed two other people, Clune said, but the attorney does not know whether Winston was interviewed.

"I'm confident that they told us it's going to be more than window dressing," Clune said. "That's about the best I can say. Time will tell."
Fisher said he had been kept in the loop and abreast of the situation.

"We're just going to coach ball just like we are," Fisher said when asked whether the team was prepared in the event Winston was found responsible and missed time.

Title IX mandates schools investigate and adjudicate sexual harassment and violence cases separate of any criminal investigation, and says schools should not wait for any criminal investigation to conclude.

The state attorney's office began investigating Winston in November 2013, but no charges were filed because of insufficient evidence.
Willie Meggs, the state attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit, whose office declined to pursue criminal charges against Winston in December, said he wasn't aware of any new evidence in the case.

"My understanding is what they're looking at is much different from what we were looking at," Meggs said. "The standards for criminal charges and student conduct are different animals."

Meggs did say he was surprised FSU officials took so long to investigate the woman's claims.

In a statement, Winston family adviser David Cornwell reasserted that Winston did not sexually assault the accuser.

"The real story here is that after her Colorado attorneys created a media frenzy alleging that Florida State University failed to comply with its Title IX obligations, [the accuser] had to come clean and admit that she previously refused to cooperate with the university's Title IX inquiry," Cornwell said in the statement. "Now that she has finally done her Title IX interview, this is the fourth time [the accuser] has told her story.

"We anticipate the same conclusion that followed her previous three statements to the Tallahassee Police Department, Florida's State Attorney's Office and in the FSU Code of Student Conduct hearing."

FSU's ruling will be based on a "preponderance of evidence" -- a standard set forth in the "Dear Colleague" letter from the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights.

Two of Winston's teammates, Chris Casher and Ronald Darby, faced school code of conduct charges this summer. Only Casher, who told police he recorded the incident on his phone but later deleted it, was found responsible, and he received a year of probation, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Clune said he expects the university to charge Winston with violating the school's conduct policy.

"If somebody doesn't want to give his side of the story, I don't see how that could be the basis for not being charged," Clune said. "It's up to any student if they don't want to cooperate with an investigation, but it shouldn't work to their advantage to not give their side of what happened."

Florida State spokeswoman Browning Brooks declined to comment on the specific investigation, citing federal privacy laws, when contacted by USA Today.

"While we cannot comment on any individual case, in general, complainants control the timing in our process," she said.

Title IX suggests a school's investigation into any report of sexual misconduct should be completed within 60 days, but Florida State did not meet with Winston until January 2014, which was more than a year after the alleged assault.

Baine Kerr, another Title IX attorney representing the woman, told USA Today in April that FSU had suspended its investigation into Winston partly because he refused to cooperate.

Clune said it was "unfortunate" the university's investigation took so long to begin and after the woman already left Florida State, but he is "encouraged that they seem to be taking this seriously, and she'll certainly help with whatever they need."

Winston last season won the Heisman Trophy as a redshirt freshman and led the Seminoles to their first national championship since 1999.

Florida State currently is ranked No. 1 in both polls after starting its season with a 37-31 win against Oklahoma State.

Clune said he feels the football team's success has caused a "power struggle" within the university.

"I think the issue is there are definitely some people at this university that really want to do the right thing and want to comply with the law," Clune said in the interview with USA Today. "But it seems like there's a power struggle between those folks and people that would be just fine to just see this go away.

"We're dealing with one of the most powerful athletic departments in the country with the No. 1 football team in the nation, and I think we'll know very shortly how much control that athletic department has."

Winston did not talk with the Tallahassee Police Department or the state attorney's office during the criminal investigation. He said, through his attorney, that the sex was consensual.