Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The End of an Era

After a hiatus that was entirely too long, I have started blogging again. Instead of trying to write about everything that has happened since I last posted, I’ll start over.

For the first time in my life, I woke up this morning and Bobby Bowden wasn’t the coach of my alma mater Florida State. I have mixed emotions about it. In a perfect world, Bobby would have led FSU to the National Championship and announced his retirement while holding the Crystal Football. However, FSU football has not been relevant on the national stage for quite some time. The last 10-win season came in 2003 and the last conference championship was in 2005. With the program not moving forward and competing at a high level any longer, I think it was time to make a change. Bobby made FSU football. We all know the numbers, 14 straight 10-win seasons, 14 top 5 finishes, two national championships, second most wins among major college football coaches, etc. As Dan Sileo said, “he turned an all girls' school into a football powerhouse.” But I don’t think that should allow him to run the program into mediocrity. I wish he could have righted the ship like Joe Paterno did in Happy Valley, but his loyalty to old players and coaches ruined any chance of that. A part of me wants to chastise the University officials for pushing a legend out the door, but with FSU dropping to fourth (hate to say it but have to after losing to USF) in the state football hierarchy, how long would Bobby be allowed to lord over the football program? Now we FSU fans get to see if Jimbo Fisher can return the team back to prominence. Jimbo has never been a head coach before and many viewed the Coach-in-Waiting contract as a knee jerk reaction to the overtures from West Virginia and other schools. I don’t seem to mind him taking over. I have a friend who isn’t sold on Jimbo’s ability to be a head coach. I’m not really sure why, but I’m sure he will let me know. Jimbo is a good recruiter and has improved the offense each season he has been at FSU. A lot of his success will come down to which coaches he retains (bye Chuck Amato and Jody Allen; maybe Dexter Carter, Odell Haggins, and Lawrence Dawsey, hello Terrell Buckley) and who he chooses and the new defensive coordinator with Mickey Andrews retiring. I’ll have to see how everything shakes out. Right now FSU is behind in recruiting and it will take a Bobby Bowden type of close for this cycle to be successful.

On another note, no surprise Notre Dame fired Charlie Weis. He boasted of having a “schematic advantage” when he arrived, and his offenses put up some pretty good numbers, but his defenses were awful. What I find ironic, is that Weis’ best years came with Willingham’s recruits. In 2007 as Weis led the Irish to their worst record ever, the excuse was that Willingham left the cupboard bare. Now we find out that Weis just couldn’t recruit defenders. In listening to AD Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame still feels they are one of “the” jobs in college football. He should listen to himself. He mentioned finding the person to join the pantheon of Rockne Parseghian, and Hotlz. Does he realize that Holtz left in 1994 and that the Irish haven’t challenge for the title since 93. Recruits now were infants when the Irish were relevant. Now we’re waiting around to see who the Irish pick up and throw a boat load of money. Brian Kelly seems to be the consensus choice, but I think Notre Dame needs a defensive guy with a great offensive coordinator. I’m not sure who that person should be with Stoops taking his name out, but that’s the way I’d go. Who do you think The Irish should choose as their next coach?

14 comments:

~Courtney~ said...

Nice to see you back in the blogging mix. Can't wait to see you writing sports columns one day for St. Pete. About the topic, I'm sad that Bobby's leaving on such a low note... he deserved better but you're right- it's time! As for ND, I could personally care less. I think they should play in a conference just like everybody else if they want to compete in the BCS.

Steve said...

Good stuff Nate. Why do people hate on Jimbo? He was asked to upgrade the offense, which he immediately did. He's turned a low level QB prospect into one of the top players in the nation. Our rush offense was deplorable under Jeff Bowden, and is now highly ranked with Jimbo and Trickett's "scheme". If the defense was up to FSU standards, we'd have double digit wins. I'm not saying that Jimbo is definitely going to be a great head coach, but what has he done to draw fans' criticism?

I disagree about Notre Dame not being able to recruit defensive players. Look at their recruiting class last season. Manti Te'o commited to Notre Dame quickly due to the program prestige. And he lives in HI. They may not be able to pull like LSU, USC, and UF, but how many schools in the middle of nowhere can? If I'm a Golden Domer, I sign up Brian Kelly immediately. Dude has been a total stud everywhere he's coached, and just wins 'ships. I'd take BK at my program in a second.

Geoff said...

It'll be interesting to see what FSU does, though I would still have them ahead of USF, 1 game doesn't change the order. If that was the case Mountain West Conference would be a BCS conference. ND must not be affected by the economy cuz this coaching change is gonna cost the $20+ million. At least $5 million/year to a new coach and the buyout of Weis, who had $18 million left on his contract. Weis did a nice job graduating players (97%), but he couldn't recruit any defensive standouts. They lost some tough games, and really weren't dominated by anyone, their biggest loss was by 7. I think ND's biggest problem has been stability. You better have a 5 year plan that succeeds, or else your done. And it isn't doing anything to help the next coach who does come in. Weis took them to 2 BCS games and got the boot in 5. So is a school who hasn't won a title in 16+ years expecting the next coach to win one in 5 or less?

Nate said...

The answer to your question in yes Geoff. They do expect to win in five years or less. ND still thinks they're in a class with UF, SC and Texas when they're really in a class with Iowa, Arizona and other middle of the road programs. They can have a few middling years then hope the starts align for a national title and BCS push.

Anonymous said...

I'd hire Brian Kelly and watch him go to a BCS game every year. If he can turn Tony Pike into a Heisman contender, I have no doubts he'll get the most out of Claussen or Crist....plus he doesn't completely ignore defense. Charlie never developed any type of system on the defensive side of the ball...just recruit athletes and sort it out later. I think Kelly can recruit and develop talent. He also already has strong in-roads in Ohio which is important for Notre Dame recruiting. Charlie pissed lots of coaches off with his arrogant attitude.... http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2008/nov/14/sports/chi-14-greenstein-charlie-weis-nnov14

Notre Dame isn't scheduling tough like they used to, so a good hire puts them right back in the thick of it. I'd go offensive to recruit big-time skill players in Kelly's sytem. He'll be given the money to hire any defensive coordinator he wants. My biggest concern with Patterson would be midwest recruiting....

Nate said...

Brian Kelly makes sense and like I said earlier, is the consensus choice among the media. However, has he recruited with the academic standards that ND requires? Also, simply recruiting athletes can't work by itself. FSU has been doing that for some time but eventually guys need to be coached up.

Jonathan Wood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan Wood said...

I still dont count out Urban Meyer for the ND job. He has done everything he can at Florida and with guys like Tebow, Spikes and Dunlap all going to the NFL next year I could see him jumping ship. He has made it clear many times that coaching at ND is his dream Job. and we all know ND will be waiting with a Blank Check for whoever is their nxt coach. Just a few comments on weis...he came in and started hot and thought he was untouchable. he never won a big game in his tenure there, he never beat USC, never beat a top 20 team and lost to quite a few unranked team. we all heard wait till his recruits get there, well they did and what did we see? ND can still recruit the best players coming out of college, and with a national TV contract and basicaly writting your own schedule...Charlie had ever chance to win and proved he isnt a head coach. He will land on his feet back in the NFL as a O-Cord probably with the Pats since they never really filled the void once josh mcdaniels left or i could see him going to KC and helping his friend Todd Haley out. great post and look forward to reading more. peace bro!

Nate said...

Urban Meyer isn't going to ND this time around. He gets to recruit the best talent in the land hours from his office. His current team is loaded with talent and has more in the pipeline. He is king around the state right now and why would he step off that perch?

Anonymous said...

Notre Dame's academic standards are a bit of a myth...take a look at Robert Hughes academic scores that got him qualified. Notre Dame takes at risk players like any other program. Hughes was dropped by several programs b/c they didn't think he'd pass admissions. So I'm not buying.

And Charlie's philosophy on defense of recruiting athletes on defense killed him. I don;t think Kelly does that...he's smart and has a style and system. Hell, he just replaced 10 starters on defense at Cincy, and they're looking at an undefeated season if they can get past Pitt on Saturday.

Kelly almost makes too much sense...I wonder how ND will botch it. Probably do something crazy and hire Brian Billick.

And Urban Meyer isn't going anywhere until Jim Tressel retires in 5 years. And even then it's a reach. But its the only school he has an out in his contract for, from Ohio, grew up an Ohio State fan, job as a GA in the program as a youngster, and a Woody Hayes enthusiast.

Nate said...

ND's standards may not be Duke's but they aren't a myth either.

And I'm not sure Urban would even go to Ohio State. Just cause someone is from there and has worked there doesn't mean they want to go back. Its the same as the Notre Dame argument.

Steve said...

Several days ago someone on ESPN quoted Lou Holtz and Bob Davies as saying, "It's never been easier get players into Notre Dame than right now." I agree that the academic standards at Notre Dame are drastically overstated.

Anonymous said...

Just a few facts and figures to consider....

Since Notre Dame's last national championship run in 1993 (the Irish finished 11-1 and #2 in both polls that year), their overall record has been just 114-79-1, for a .590 winning percentage.

During that 16-year period, Notre Dame has had four head coaches: Lou Holtz (1994-1996); Bob Davie (1997-2001), Tyrone Willingham (2002-2004, with Kent Baer as interim coach for one game after Ty was canned), and Charlie Weis (2005-2009).

During that 16-year period, Notre Dame has had two ten-win seasons (2002 and 2006), and six non-winning seasons (1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2009).

During that 16-year period, Notre Dame has had losing records against traditional rivals Southern Cal (4-11-1, .300 winning percetage); Michigan (4-7-0, .364 winning percentage); Michigan State (5-9-0, .357 winning percentage); and Boston College (6-8-0, .429 winning percentage). Notre Dame is also 0-3 versus Ohio State during that time.

During that 16-year period, Notre Dame has finished the season as a ranked team seven times, and as an unranked team nine teams. Notre Dame's best finish in the polls was after the 2005 season, when they were ranked #9 in the AP and #11 in the CP.

During that 16-year period, Notre Dame has had only five first team All Americans, and just two "consensus" All Americans.

Five years ago, Urban Meyer passed on the Notre Dame job, allegedly because he believed that no one could win at Notre Dame anymore. Maybe he had a point...

Anonymous said...

Why Urban would liekly look at tOSU as his dream job: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1163435/3/index.htm

A quick segment..."Meyer had grown up worshipping Ohio State, wearing number 45 in honor of Archie Griffin; he had teared up the first time he touched a Buckeyes jersey. Now, on a perfect January night in Phoenix, this son of Ohio had just crushed Woody's old school 41--14. Meyer was 42 years old, in just his sixth year as a head coach. He shook hands with Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel at midfield, walked to the sideline and found his father was waiting.

"Well," Bud said. "It's about time you did that."

This dude loves Ohio and Ohio State. He's a Buckeye Nut as those in Ohio are called. I don't know...would he be crazy to leave a recruiting hotbed like University of Florida....probably. Is it worth leaving to coach your childhood dream school? I say yes here as well...put it this way Mr. Cowan.....if you had coached Florida to 3 National Titles, but were given the oppotunity to coach your childhood favorite team that was a sleeping giant? Would you do it?? Paid more money to coach your childhood favorite program and given the same recruting resources (stadium, indoor practice facility, massive work-out facility).

Curently Notre Dame doesn't meet the criteria, and Notre Dame wasn't Urban's childhood favorite either. That's less Ohio States fault, and more Earl Bruce's.

Anyways, while I think Urban would be crazy to leave UF, I wouldn't be surprised if he left to take over for Jim Tressel who claims he wants to retire at age 60, and not coach past his contract in 2012. Sounds crazy right?? Well, Jim Tressel is crazy. He has enough sense to step out on top of his game than lead Ohio State into a decade of up and down seasons like Penn State.

So Tressel retires n 2012, 3 years from now. Who's the leading candidate?? A lot can change in 3 years, but my guess is Urban Meyer. Local kid who grew up loving the Buckeyes, wanted to play at Ohio State but wasn't talented enough, wore Archie Griffin's # in his playing career, coached at Ohio State as a grad assistant, and has one, singular school in his out clause....which is Ohio State.

Again 3 years is a very long time, but Urban Meyer has roots in the Midwest and especially Ohio. I'm not saying it will happen, but it'd make a lot more sense than going to Notre Dame.