Blog Entry

Friday Mailbag: The coach Penn St should pursue

Posted on: December 9, 2011 12:58 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2011 1:10 pm
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Here is this week's mailbag. As always, if you have questions send them to me on Twitter at BFeldmanCBS.

From @Newberry75 Is PSU interviewing anybody? Seems pretty quiet for such a high profile search.

It's been kept very quiet if they have. Given all of the uncertainty with the leadership there and the cloud that will hang over that community for a very long time, it's a delicate situation. I can report that a hot rumor which was swirling in the past 36 hours is untrue that was linking former Penn State player Al Golden to the job. Golden, the rumor went, was picked up Wednesday in New York in a private plane and flown to PA to meet with Penn State officials. However, a source explained to me that the private plane that Golden was flying in is actually owned by a Miami donor and the coach was going around the northeast recruiting for Miami.

The guy who I think Penn State should target for this job is actually a different guy with Miami ties, Mario Cristobal, the head coach at FIU. As I wrote here a few months ago, Cristobal has done wonders taking over what was the bleakest, messiest, most screwed-up FBS program in all of college football. He is a high-energy, no-BS guy who knowns the northeast well from his time as Greg Schiano's top recruiter when they were trying to breathe some life into the Rutgers program. Cristobal knows what it takes to win both as a player and as a coach. He has shown he has great focus, which I think will be paramount for the next head coach there given everything that you will inherit.
 

If you're skeptical about Cristobal's tenacity and savvy to land such a big job with such unique problems,  click the link and look at the bottom of the column:

I said no coach in FBS took over a worse program. The reason: FIU was like no other program at that level. There was no infrastructure. They had no film library. They had no academic support system in place for the players. They had to build everything from scratch when Cristobal's staff arrived. "Our first month of official visits, we didn't show them the locker room or the weight room," said a former staffer. "We were running smoke and mirrors. Everything focused on the campus and the city of Miami. We'd just show them plans of what we were building."

The facilities were laughable. The program also had administrative issues where players had a hard time even getting their Pell Grant money. On top of that, Cristobal also inherited a dreadful APR rating and the program was going on academic probation, so they couldn't even go after full recruiting classes.



From @astubert Do you think Devon Still wasn't selected as an AFCA All-American because of the PSU scandal?


I'd hope that wasn't the reason behind it since Still had nothing to do with it. I was surprised to see him NOT on the team. If you were to ask which DT had the most impact on his defense and doesn't take a lot of plays off, Still would be the first guy I'd think of. He played on a top 5 defense, and he was the biggest reason why they were so tough. He had 17 TFLs, which is really impressive since most of the other top guys in tackles for loss are edge rushers, not guys who consistently see double teams and lots of traffic.

From @tperk54 why on earth did you not vote for Trent Richardson for the Heisman?
 

Richardson is an outstanding back. He was on top or near the top of my ballot for much of this season. He had some spectacular moments. Best example was that amazing run he had against that dreadful Ole Miss team. In a few games against some of the tougher defenses he played, he was good, although he only averaged a little over four yards per carry against Penn State and under four yards against LSU and his team didn't even score a touchdown. I feel like he's a better back that Montee Ball, but the Wisconsin back put up even more impressive numbers and he did so against some good defenses too. Both backs had very good years. I believe there are six or seven guys you could make a strong case for. I watched a lot of games on each of those guys. To me, it just comes down who had the best year in terms of making the most impact on his program and, as I detailed in the Big Picture column, that was Robert Griffin III.
 
From @SouthernJetNC Is Fedora a great, good or average hire for UNC?
 

I'd categorize him as a good hire. He's aggressive, has a sharp offensive mind and a really keen eye for talent. That last part is big. He helped land some very unheralded prospects at Oklahoma State who blossomed into stars. Obviously, a lot will depend on the caliber of assistants he can surround himself with, but I was impressed by the staff he assembled right away when he took over at Southern Miss. Those guys could really recruit.


From @T_Dwyer Is "Charlie Weis? Huh?" enough of a question or should I be more specific?

That one caught me off guard too. I can see why KU would consider Weis, although I wouldn't think they'd hire him over, say, a Gus Malzahn or even a Chad Morris, if they could've landed either. Weis isn't a first-time college head coach, but it's not like he was a big success at ND with a lot more resources there. His name will carry weight with some recruits, but so would those other guys.

As for the other side of it: Kansas is a really, really tough place to win at. Remember before Mark Mangino arrived, KU hadn't had a winning season in a half-dozen years before and hadn't been to a bowl since 1995. In 2007, when Mangino got KU into a BCS bowl, which they won, was arguably the best coaching job we've seen in the last 20 years. KU was 12-1 and finished No. 7. Amazing. KU isn't in a fertile recruiting state and it can't take many of the local JC players that other programs in that league can. Then they got rid of him and the program has bottomed out in two seasons with Turner Gill. They weren't even competitive. 

Weis, should attract some talent on offense. According to the New York Times, Dayne Crist, a former Weis QB at ND, will visit there this weekend. Landing Crist would be a good first step for the coach. Weis will inherit a talented young RB in Darrian Miller, but also the nation's worst defense. Crist would be a quick fix to try and help them get respectable in a hurry, maybe go 4-8, 5-7 to win over some skeptical recruits. But it is going to be a very uphill battle. Top recruits won't perk up for KU as they will listen if you're the head coach at Notre Dame. Now maybe some QBs and tight ends may given Weis' pedigree, but there are other coaches with strong NFL track records too and they're at bigger programs. When Weis was at ND, he was at the glamour school. Now, he'll be below OU, Texas, Oklahoma State and just about everyone else in the Big 12. 

From @MatthewLevi If Bama wins BCS, what are the odds that LSU still gets AP title since LSU beat Bama at Bama's house and had a stronger SOS?

My hunch is those are slim chances LSU would still get the AP title. Keep in mind if Bama won, they'd be beating LSU in the Tigers backyard. Also, people, by nature, are creatures of the moment. They tend to go with what they just witnessed and put heavy emphasis on it. By overlooking the BCS title game like that would make a farce of something (the BCS) that is already pretty dubious.

From @AnalogSports Is Mike Leach going to run his same offense up in Pullman? In the snow? Will he get the right kids for it?

They ran the Air-Raid system in Iowa, where the weather was brutal and had a lot of success with it under those conditions. It can get pretty windy in Lubbock and some parts of the Big 12 too. 
Sounds like he already has a few of those kids in the program right now with those two QBs (Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday) and Marquess Wilson, a great sophomore WR. The challenge will be for them to grasp the nuances of the system and rep it so much where they can get the timing down.

From @cdunk87 Who do you think would be better fit at Nebraska for DC Ron Zook or Mike Stoops?

Zook is a fantastic recruiter, but as a DC, I'll go with Mike Stoops. Ask OU fans about what they feel like the program has lacked since Mike Stoops left for Arizona. He is a very good coach. People I've spoken to who have worked with him saying he was an excellent tempo setter at practice and very good in the day-to-day. That said it would be interesting to see him on the same sideline with another up-to-the-edge intensity guy like Pelini, but since both go back I suspect they'd could play off each other pretty well if Stoops does end up in Lincoln.
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Comments
Haystacksports
Since: Dec 12, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 8:44 am
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Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: December 12, 2011 9:05 pm
 

Friday Mailbag: The coach Penn St should pursue

i was hearing rumors that PSU will go after UVA's Mike London but London is not that dumb, he has everything he needs at UVA, good school, great recruiting area, young talented players so i doubt that will happen.

Penn State is screwed no matter what, they might as well go after a top asst to clean up that mess, no good coach from a good school will leave to clean up that doo doo, no way.



Since: May 27, 2011
Posted on: December 12, 2011 12:55 pm
 

Friday Mailbag: The coach Penn St should pursue

Spurrier..he can post up against Urban..both would bring the Big 10 out of 1975..even Wisconsin almost made it to the 21st Century with Wilson.



Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: December 11, 2011 6:37 am
 

Friday Mailbag: The coach Penn St should pursue

Hmm...I thought that Penn State wanted a coach chosen by the bowl game.  We're not hearing much which probably means that they have feelers going around.  As for Ron Zook being a defensive coordinator at Nebraska, people need to remember that what ever he was is as a recruiter, he is not as a coach.  Steve Spurrier actually fired Zook as defensive coordinator of the Gators after the 1995 season and hired a young Bob Stoops to take over.  The result was a 1996 season which for all the razzle-dazzle of the offense, won its national title based on its defense.  Just ask Peyton Manning. 



Since: Sep 22, 2009
Posted on: December 11, 2011 2:43 am
 

Friday Mailbag: The coach Penn St should pursue

The FIU quote of recruiting with smoke and mirrors is not something anyone associated with PSU should want to hear. So the coaches deceived the players to get them to come there? Smoke and mirrors is what got PSU where they are today.  Penn State needs to focus on repairing the institution from the inside out, with football being on the out. Administratively, they are a mess with PSU ties with almost all hires/replacements/interims, etc.

When will the University start caring for its students, alumni and academic reputation, instead of its football program. Football needs to be on the back burner for the next four or five years while the litigation makes its way through the court system. The community and the national perception of PSU can begin to heal the right way at that time. Until then, the scabs will keep getting ripped open every time a new accusation or new leak comes out in the media. This would not be fair to any recruit and for that reason, they need to put sports where it belongs.  



Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: December 9, 2011 4:59 pm
 

Best PSU rumor

The best PSU rumor I have heard is that they had an under the table agreement with Urban Meyer to take over for Joe Pa after this year, but that the Sandusky mess made Meyer change his mind.  
 
PSU is going to be a great program again.  The next coach has a golden opportunity to bring in his own people and clean house.  As we saw at Michigan the last few years, old programs with a record of success usually sabotage any attempts from outsiders to clean out the good ol' boy network, and the good ol' boy network eventually wins, even though the program loses.  
 
At PSU, there will be the perfect excuse to start over, bring in a modern staff, and do it right without interference from disgruntled good ol' boys.  Whoever it is will be getting a great deal.  Not only can he clean house, but he will be given at least five years to get the job done, and the media will write story after story about how difficult a task he has.  

The PSU job is officially a "sleeper" right now.   


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