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Rocky Long: I hope I'm on the sidelines like Joe Paterno

It didn’t take long for San Diego State athletic director Jim Sterk to promote Rocky Long to head coach.  Long, who served as the Aztecs’ defensive coordinator the last two seasons, is the former head coach at New Mexico.

"I hope this lasts 10, 15, 20 years," said Long of his new job. "I hope that I'm on the sidelines like Joe Paterno."

"The Mountain West Championship is the first goal and will always be the first goal but I don't think that it will stop there. There are teams (TCU) in our league that go to BCS games and win the BCS games. There is absolutely, absolutely no reason that that cannot be us, no reason whatsoever."

“I thought coach Hoke did an amazing job getting this program started in the right direction. The foundation has been poured - it is not solid yet. There is a long way to go before we are going to be considered a great program. Everything is in place here that we can be a great program.”

Long agreed to a 5-year deal worth $800,000 per year.




San Diego State AD not pleased with Dave Brandon

San Diego State AD Jim Sterk wasn’t overly pleased with Michigan AD Dave Brandon and perhaps even Brady Hoke in regards to the handling of the Michigan coaching search.

Sterk said that Hoke didn’t notify him that he met with Michigan until after the meeting occurred, which was either Friday or Saturday.

Brandon, the former Dominos Pizza CEO, never contacted Sterk.

“It’s not good business,” said Sterk.

San Diego State has since named Rocky Long as their new head coach.  Long served as the Aztecs’ defensive coordinator the past two years. Sterk said he will not pursue legal action against Michigan.  He did say that Hoke's contract states he does have to notify the administration of any interview, which he did only after-the-fact.  

While watching the presser, it didn't seem to us that Sterk would pursue legal action against Hoke, although he didn't say he would not.

A reporter asked Sterk at the end of the press conference this afternoon, “Pizza Hut or Dominos?”

Sterk’s responded, “Pizza Hut” with a laugh and smile.




Les Miles explains decision to remain at LSU

Les Miles explained his decision to remain at LSU during a morning press conference on Wednesday.

Miles said, “I could not have met with Michigan without the potential of a different outcome. In your waking hours, the 4 a.m. in the morning talk with your wife or that drive home from the office, there are those moments where you put it in line and you structure the decision. I always allowed for that, but it kept comfortably returning to the people and the commitment.”

“I like working for (Michael) Bonnette and Sam Nader and Frank Wilson and Steve Ensminger. Those are the guys that I respect in this decision. I think my strength and my weakness is loyalty, and I will always see it as a strength."

(on potential staff changes) "I really don't know exactly what to tell you. I normally have a staff meeting on Thursday morning. I'm not really ready to say there won't be some changes in the staff. I don't know that I necessarily am going to be the factor there as opposed to other great opportunities, so we'll have to see how that goes."

"This is home to us. My family really loves being in Louisiana and I love representing this great institution. Staying at LSU is the right thing to do. I wanted to stand by the commitment that I made to the team and to LSU and that really overshadowed any other consideration.”

"The business that we're doing is affecting people's lives, playing for championships, encouraging a degree, setting people on a path that will benefit them. I think that happened for me at Michigan and hopefully it's happening for others at LSU and I like being part of that here. This is a wonderful place and I'm thrilled to be the LSU coach."

LSU will open the 2011 season against Oregon at Cowboys Stadium.




Phil Bennett wanted a big boy deal

Former Pitt defensive coordinator Phil Bennett explained to ESPN’s David Ubben exactly how he ended up accepting the Baylor defensive coordinator job.

Bennett was in Birmingham preparing for the bowl game when Art Briles called and said he wanted to move quickly.

Bennett said, “He goes, ‘Well, let me tell you how fast I'll be: I can be in Birmingham tomorrow.’ And I said, ‘Wow!’ He asked what my schedule was like, and it was Tuesday and I had an idea, I had some things going, and I told him, ‘Art, I think you've got it going on, but it will take a big commitment.’ He just told me to let him come down. When he came down, we practiced, he came up to my suite and we talked about a few things. I'm a guy that wants to know things. I want to know what I'm getting into. And when I told him what it would take, he told me, well this is what I've got. I said, "Well, this is what it will take." 

“I wanted a commitment. I wanted to know how serious they were about getting better. I looked at the top pay of the coordinators and said ‘Hey, look, none of them have more experience than I do. I'll put my résumé against anybody.’ I said, ‘If we're going to do this, let's pay like it.’ It was a little variation from what they had to what I wanted, the number of years. I said, ‘I plan on this being my last job. Let's make this work.’ I talked about the staff, that I had to have control of the staff, who I'm going to be working with. He said, ‘Phil, we will get this done.’ I told him when he got it done to call me. 

“I was a little bit shocked. He wasn't gone 10 minutes. On the way to the airport he says, ‘It's done.’ I said, ‘I'm in.’ That's how it went down.” 

“I asked for a much larger salary and extended years and not a lot of assistant coaches get that. I'm going to have the final say on all the players -- all the defensive players we take.”

We have confirmed that Bennett will be in Waco when this crazy carousel begins next year.




Michigan AD explains no offer to Harbaugh or Les Miles

Michigan AD Dave Brandon says he never offered the job to Jim Harbaugh or Les Miles. 

Huh? 

Brandon says, "The job was never offered to them. We did have different discussions with them that were helpful and positive." 

As ESPN’s Bruce Feldman just tweeted, “I also haven't 'offered' Jim Harbaugh the chance to guest-edit my blog tomorrow.” 

Brandon did, however, hire a coach with “something to prove.”

He explained, "This is what he's (Brady Hoke) worked his entire career to be able to do. He is determined to be successful here. I've always believed you never underestimate the power of someone who has something to prove."

Apparently, in Michigan’s mind, talking salaries, assistant coaching pool salaries, country club memberships, 2011 Chevy Tahoe’s, personal use of the private jet, and a suite at the Big House do not constitute a true “offer.”




Quick Hits: Chizik, Petersen, Harsin, Applewhite

Quoting Gene Chizik after winning the national championship: "Well, obviously, you know, it is really hard for me to describe the feeling that I have for the Auburn family. I look down here to my left and I see three guys along with a locker room of 100 more that have just defied all the odds. I'm not sure if 15 weeks ago anyone believed that we could do this except us. And this is the most unbelievable group of young men I have been around. I feel very blessed. God has blessed my life to be around a great administration, a great Auburn family. These guys represent Auburn on the field, off the field, in the community the right way. We said that we wanted to go from good to great. And I can sit here tonight and I can tell you that Auburn -- the Auburn Tigers are the best football team in the United States tonight."

"You know, it is not about my arrival. That's not how I live my life. I live my life trying to do the right thing and guide 18- to 22-year-olds to do the right thing and to go from good to great. We try to give them everything they can have on the field, off the field, spiritually, in the classroom, as a student. And that's how we live our life. We are going to do it the right way. We always have done it the right way. It is not about how I arrived or how I leave, it is not about Gene Chizik. It is about the Auburn family and it is about those, I don't know, 30- or 40,000 fans that came into that stadium tonight and probably another 10,000 that were outside and probably another 10,000 that wanted to come back home but couldn't get here. Don't get any satisfaction in look at me or "told you so," none of that. This is for these players and this Auburn family and the people that care about Auburn and carry the Auburn flag. It is that simple."

 

Quoting Boise State head coach Chris Petersen: "I'm really happy to be in the position I've been the last five years. I think (Stanford) is a very special place. I just thought it was worth having a conversation about, but that's about as far as it went."

 

Brian Harsin says it's his job to have a championship offense at Texas: "We shook hands and we started talking ball. It was so simple, so easy and right away I knew I had a guy who will be on the same page. It felt very comfortable right way."

"I know the expectations here. We've got a championship program, a championship coach and it's my job to make a championship offense."

 

Major Applewhite talks about the chemistry of the Texas offensive staff: "It will be collaborative. It won't be a one-guy show, a two-guy show. It will be a cohesive effort and that's how you get ownership and get what you want. We'll all have a part of it and that's what you want. You want a group of five guys come to the table with ideas."

 

 




Quick Hits: Chip Kelly, Lane Kiffin, Gary Patterson

Chip Kelly using the story of Secretariat as motivation: “Our message with Secretariat is he didn't care. He ran -- I never looked at Secretariat as an underdog. You can watch that movie. You win the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths, that's not an underdog in my book. I think the message we had with Secretariat is it didn't care about what its competition was. It was a faceless opponent. It went out when the gate opened it ran as fast as it could as long as it could. That's what Steve Prefontaine did. He ran as fast as he could for as long as he did. If he didn't do it that way, then he wasn't happy with it. We are not going to lay back, sit back and do it. We have never taken that -- we don't talk much about our opponent, to be honest with you. From a scheme standpoint we do. We don't use those "are we an underdog" and all that. Those are outside influences that motivate you. We are intrinsically motivated operation.”

 

Colts' head coach Jim Caldwell explains his timeout call with 29 seconds left: “I didn’t care. I was going to make sure that they couldn’t. Make them snap the ball. They were in field goal range. We wanted to try to make them snap the ball as many times as they possibly could.”

 

Need a ticket to the national championship game? :  You can get one right now on StubHub for $6,900.  It's on the 50-yard line.

 

Lane Kiffin won’t pick a winner, but says defense will decide the national champion: "Two first-year starting quarterbacks in the national championship game. When was the last time that happened?"

"I don't know who's going to win the game. The key is not going to be who moves the ball; it's who's going to be able to make them slow down and force them to make the mistake.

"Who's going to play defense and not give up big plays?"

 

Gary Patterson says it will be tougher to say at the top: "It's tougher to try to stay at or near the mountain top than it is getting there. You work hard and hang on tight when you're hanging off the cliff. You should do the same when you're at the top of the mountain. That's how you stay there." 




Former LSU AD explains Les Miles' situation

Former LSU AD Skip Bertman doesn’t believe Les Miles will leave for Michigan. 

Bertman also never believed that Tulane (the other college in Louisiana) would defeat his Tigers in the 2001 Super Regionals, Bertman’s last series as a college baseball coach.  The Green Wave advanced to Omaha. 

Bertman told the Detroit Free Press, "This time now for Miles, he has a 7-year old, a 16-year old and two boys in between, isn't the time for him to move.   At LSU he makes the $4 million, likes Baton Rouge, likes LSU, and had a really great recruiting class. The timing is such, I don’t think if Michigan came up with the $4 million plus the ($1.25 million) buyout he has, I don’t think the timing is right for Les Miles.”

Timing?  Skip, what would be good timing?

Bertman says, “He has a lot of morality, you don’t find it in many people, let alone many coaches. He won’t try to make more money by pretending that he wants to go to Michigan. That’s extraordinarily rare. I was an AD for a long time. Some coaches they really don’t want to go, but pretend they do.”

Bertman, who hired Les Miles, will soon find out.  Several reports say that Miles will talk with Michigan AD Dave Brandon in the next 48 hours.