Fireside chat with Ellis Johnson
South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson was officially named the head coach at Southern Miss yesterday.
Johnson, who turns 60 on Friday, was excellent at his introductory presser. He drew a great response from the audience when he was asked if he thought that his age was an issue taking a head coaching position late in his career...Johnson's response was right on the money.
"I've had no complaints from my wife, Caroline" Ellis said as the crowd erupted in laughter.
Johnson will start his duties working with the Golden Eagles immediately.
Ellis sat down for a chat with Southern Miss President Dr. Martha Saunders. He provides some good insight into his plans here.
Hard to coach 2 teams at once
Tim DeRuyter has literally been working around the clock since being named the head coach at Fresno State, on top of his interim duties at A&M.
DeRuyter says that he often puts in 19 hour days to make sure he gets time for bowl prep, recruiting, and also has time to reach out and assemble his Fresno State staff.
"It's really different, I'm not sure I was really smart about what I wanted to bite off here. I'm attacking both of them. I'm trying to do right by our players here, which is the most important thing. I made a commitment to stay here and do that, but at the same time at night I'm trying to put a staff together and do some recruiting. It makes for a full day" he said.
DeRuyter will finish up his duties as the interim coach at A&M on December 31st as the Aggies take on Northwestern in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Wednesday bowl action on tap tonight. Also, Game of Honor (a documentary about the Army / Navy game) airs tonight at 10pm on Showtime. The promos have been excellent.
All times are eastern.
Poinsettia Bowl: TCU vs Louisiana Tech - 8 - ESPN
Head ball coach on Mike Stoops
Hard not to enjoy listening to Steve Spurrier being Steve Spurrier.
Two video players below. The top one is the 15 seconds of his response to the question of whether Mike Stoops might be the next defensive coordinator. The bottom is the full interview which focuses more on Ellis Johnson taking the Southern Miss job, bowl prep, etc...
Illinois Staff update
As we've been telling you on The Scoop, Tim Beckman is bringing two staff members with him from Toledo.
Alex Golesh and Mike Ward were on site today at Illinois and spoke with reporters (see videos below). At Toledo, Golesh was the recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach. Ward was co-defensive coordinator.
Our sources tell us these are the only full time assistants that will join Beckman.
If you listen to Golesh and Ward speak, it's very clear how fluid the situation is...both will be full time assistants; but neither is sure which position they will coach...Golesh doesn't sound like he knows which side of the ball he'll be on.
In fairness, this isn't the first time we've seen a situation like this; and it really wasn't unexpected once Toledo named Matt Campbell head coach. Beckman is trying to maintain as much flexibility as possible to hire the best possible coaches for his staff.
Update on Mark Richt
This might, or might not, surprise you; but nearly everyday we field questions about Mark Richt's future. A year ago the questions were "would the Bulldogs keep him?". Four months ago it was, "Will he last the season?". Then Richt ran off 10 straight wins. Then the questions became, "How big is Richt's extension going to be?"...
But of late, the rumors have been swirling with talk of Mark Richt taking the Penn State job after their respective bowl games. Last week, Richt made some statements to attempt to kill the issue. He said, "I've said many times Georgia is the place I want to be as long as Georgia will have me....and it's gratifying to know Georgia wants me....I have not talked to any other school about a job, nor do I have any interest in doing so." Georgia's AD came out with a similar statement, "He wants to be our coach and we want him to be our coach."
Several times now, Richt and AD Greg McGarity have said they are working on an extension; however nothing is on paper yet. Asked today about the status of the extension, Richt now says they will talk about this after the bowl game adding that he and McGarity "trust each other".
It sure would be nice if he would simply come out and say, "I will not be the head coach at Penn State next year."
In an unrelated note, it was reported today that Mark Richt personally made payments to coaches and other support staff totaling more than $60,000 over the past few years. The payments were related to bonuses that the University didn't pay and raises that didn't get approved primarily.
McGarity made a statement about these payments, "The University believes Coach Richt acted out of a generous heart and certainly without any intention to violate NCAA rules." However, they did self-report 3 of the payments as secondary violations.
If you read how Georgia describes each payment, it sure does look like Richt is doing the right thing in each case; but in this day and age it sure does seem odd that "compliance" wouldn't have been asked for approval on these checks before they were written.
Update> ESPN's Chris Low summed it up pretty well.
Erin Andrews in Les Miles office
Yesterday, Erin Andrews posted a video showing some of the more interesting gifts that fans send to Les every year (Louisiana has some special people).
How many other coaches have received white shrimping boots as a gift?
Lights out defense
The 49er defense played lights out again last night, holding the Steelers to just 3 points in a 20 - 3 win.
The victory marked the first time in NFL history that a team has not allowed a rushing touchdown through 14 straight games. The 49ers have almost doubled their win total since last year (when they finished 6 - 10), and are an impressive 11 - 3 this season.
Vic Fangio and the new defensive staff have been able to keep an impressive streak alive from the previous staff, going 36 games without allowing a 100 yard rusher .
Fangio was our 2010 defensive coordinator of the year at Stanford before leaving with Harbaugh for the 49ers. He's proven that hes one of the best in the business and can get the job done at any level.