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Hazell: I went and watched film before I said yes to the job

Just days after winning his first national title at Florida, Urban Meyer told thousands of coaches at the AFCA Coaches Convention that the key to the profession is taking the right jobs.

Meyer urged coaches not to take any job, especially because of salary, but to take jobs where there is immediate potential (i.e. players).

Perhaps Darrell Hazell was listening.  On Monday, the former Ohio State wide receivers coach was introduced as the new head coach at Kent State.  Before accepting the job however, Hazell admitted, “I went and watched the film before I said yes to the job.”

Hazell said, “There are enough good players here to be competitive. If we can surround those good players we have currently with a few other guys, we’ll be OK to compete next year for what we want to compete for.”

So what the first step?

“If you don’t have a belief system, you don’t have a chance,” said Hazell. “We’re going to change the image of our guys, the way they think, to have a balanced ego and walk around with their chest out. That’s how it’s going to start.”

Hazell will coach with Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, where the Buckeyes will face Arkansas on January 4th in New Orleans.

Which assistant coach is absolutely crushing his contract incentives?

Oregon offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Mark Helfrich is cashing in on several contract incentives that will pay quite nicely.

According to USA Today, Helfrich earns $231,000 in base salary.  He earned an additional $17,000 for beating Oregon State and $35,000 for winning twelve regular-season games.

Helfrich secured another $12,000 for the team’s nine network TV appearances and will receive four months pay ($66,667) for reaching the BCS Championship Game.

What’s on the line in Glendale?  Helfrich will earn an additional $66,667 for winning the game and $50,000 for notching the Ducks’ thirteen victory.

We’re not done yet.  Helfrich will bring in another $30,000 for a top-10 finish and $75,000 for final #1 ranking.

How stoked is Helfrich about this season?

Most importantly, Helfrich was recently named the 2010 FootballScoop Quarterbacks Coach of the Year.  For this honor, we believe he should get another $200,000 for joining an elite group of previous winners such as Josh Heupel (Oklahoma, 2008) and Tom Rossley (Texas A&M, 2009).

On second thought, $250,000 sounds more reasonable.  He is the best in his craft, nominated and selected by his peers.

Maryland AD answers tough questions, explains decision

Maryland AD Kevin Anderson announced today that he is making a strategic business decision to buy out the contract of ACC Coach of the Year, Ralph Friedgen.

The most interesting part of the presser came when a reporter asked, “If James Franklin had not left for Vanderbilt, would Ralph be returning?”

Anderson responded, “Yes.”

Anderson also said, “James would have been a candidate in that pool.  I told him he would not automatically have given him the job.  The decision was his (to go to Vanderbilt).”

“We needed to make a long-term well thought out decision.”

“Having a head coach with one year remaining on his contract would have made it impossible to recruit well accomplished assistant coaches and high level recruits.”

“We will immediately begin a national search.”

“The search for a new head coach begins immediately.  The search is an open one.  Despite reports to the contrary, no candidate has been contacted by me or my staff.”

“He (Ralph) made it very clear he didn’t want to be a lame duck coach.”

“I do have a list.  There is no leading candidate.  Mike Leach is on that list.”

Pete Lembo talks about his plan at Ball State

Ball State introduced new head coach Pete Lembo just moments ago.  Lembo was 35-22 in five seasons as the Elon University head coach.  He was 44-14 in the five previous seasons as the head coach at Lehigh University.

Lembo said, “This is not about me.  This is about the Ball State program and all the different constituents in it.  My focus is to maximize the potential of the players.”

“I want our team to be the tightest knit team on the campus and in the MAC.  We will work hard to develop trust and build intangibles. We will be heavily involved in the players’ lives.”

“Character and fit are huge components for me.”

“I have extensive recruiting in Florida and Georgia, if we need to go outside our region, that’s where we’ll go.”

“The MAC is an outstanding league.  It has risen in recent years.  It’s been a long-term goal of mine.  There are so many parallels between the community we are leaving and this community.”

“I think in any profession, who you work for is half the battle.  I learned a lot of Tom (Collin) in this process.  He likes to hire people he can trust and then hand them the keys to the car and support them.”

“This is not going to be about Pete Lembo bringing in his guys.  Everyone is going to have a clean slate.  We are going to embrace all the players.”

Bielema undecided on new defensive coordinator

With the departure of defensive coordinator Dave Doeren, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema has a decision to make regarding the next leader of the Badgers’ defense.

Defensive line / specialists coach Charlie Partridge or defensive backs coach Chris Ash will likely call the defense next beginning in the spring.  The two coaches could end up as co-coordinators.

Ash explains,"Whatever coach Bielema decides, we'll make it work. We're not going anywhere. We're happy to be here. If he were to bring somebody else in, we'd make it work. But if he named me or Charlie, or co-(coordinators), we'll make it work.”

"This is our defense. It's not anyone (else's) defense. We know the defense inside and out. We can run it, we can call it. We'll make our normal offseason adjustments and changes we would normally make. If it came to (co-coordinators), business would roll as usual."

Doeren will serve as the defensive coordinator in the Rose Bowl against TCU before leaving for Northern Illinois as the head coach.

Wisconsin is a 2.5 point dog to TCU.  

Quick Hits: Kelly, Whittingham, Petersen, and Fedora

Brian Kelly wants a particular type of player at Notre Dame: "We have some guys that play because there are 81,000 in that stadium. "But most of our guys---would play if not one fan showed up for the game. Those are the guys that I want."

"We had too many guys here that were interested in the walk from the basilica, wearing the Notre Dame helmet, and running out before 81,000. That can't be your prime reason for being at the University of Notre Dame. Now. we've changed a lot of that." 


Kyle Whittingham likes that Utah is a 17-point dog to Boise State: “Our team seems to function pretty good when they’re in the underdog role and have a chip on their shoulder.”


Chris Petersen calls out Vegas, doesn’t understand 17-point favorite: “Shocked. Obviously somebody’s not studying tape. We study tape and I know this is a very even matchup and I think we’ll have to play our best if we hope to win.”


Larry Fedora compliments Charlie Strong: "Charlie is going to get after it. He's going to coach hard. He's got a philosophy, and he believes in it. It's proven. It looks like those kids have bought in. He's done a heck of a job getting to this point."


Southern Miss DC Todd Bradford explains “tough year” : “It was a tough year. It was a tough last game against Tulsa (a 56-50 loss). People do not know realize you lose those three players (linebacker Tim Green, linebacker Martez Smith and end Deddrick Jones) in the shooting and all three were playing a lot of minutes for us. The emotions of beating Central Florida came down with the incident and the short week with Houston were tough. We have to play with passion and emotions to be successful. But it starts with me and we will get better.”

(on practicing for Houston following the shooting of three players) "Practice was odd. Everyone deals with emotions differently, and there's no right way to deal with it. Not only were the players dealing with those kinds of emotions, but you have coaches that are very, very close to those kids. I've spent more hours with those three kids than with my three children over the last three years."

Quick Hits: Haywood, Neuheisel, Joker, and Rick Minter

Mike Haywood says informing players was really, really tough: “The most difficult time I had was telling the players I had taken the job. That was really tough, an emotional time for myself and for my players.”

“I told them I would not be at the bowl game, but my heart would be there with them. I’m looking forward to them winning this game for Miami University and for themselves.” 


Rick Neuheisel says there are potentially more changes: "I'm not entirely done evaluating. There are certainly some other things that I want to continue to consider, but I'm sure about these particular moves and I informed them this morning."

"The offense is still a place I'm evaluating and Norm as the coordinator is certainly in that category. But I'm just trying to figure out what is the best way to go, whether it's a reshuffling or if it's new personnel. I'm still sorting that out in my own mind."


Joker Phillips says Rick Minter will run the show: "But with co-coordinators, somebody has to be in charge. You can't have two guys calling it, similar to my situation with head coach of the offense and offensive coordinator. Somebody has to be in charge of it, and Coach Minter will be in charge of the defense, in calling it, and making sure our daily practices are organized."


Rick Minter wasn’t ever worried about his salary at Kentucky: “When Joker talked to me, I was excited and happy. We didn't even talk finances. I didn't care. I'm beyond all that. I just want to work for somebody who matters in my life; I want to work for a good guy. I could work and will work alongside Steve Brown. I'm the designee in charge, and Steve has already shown me great respect, and it will be reciprocated because I think he brings great value to us."

Awkward press conference as Vandy introduces James Franklin

We interrupt the FootballScoop Staff Christmas Party to bring you this story about James Franklin’s introductory press conference.

In short, Franklin was interrupted roughly 9 times by the Vandy president (didn’t really feel like googling his name) and/or vice-chancellor David Williams during his speech.  Quick side note: Intern #3 is closing in on his 9th cold beverage at the Christmas party.

We are really glad that Williams made the following announcement before introducing one of the most significant hires in university history.  Williams said, “I want thank my wife and kids. For three weeks, they had to listen to me answer three cell phones.  My son, I did not go to his soccer game, all because we were in the business of hiring a new head coach.”

On to Franklin’s speech, again that was obnoxiously interrupted a number of times by the president  and/or vice-chancellor.

Franklin said, “I was blown away by the commitment.  I had a pretty good situation where I was.  It was going to take something really special to get me on board.  I didn’t need to leave.  It was going to have to be something that blew me away and that’s what happened.”

“Really before I could finish asking for anything, they were saying, ‘You got it.  It was one thing after another.’”

“I’m not a 6-5 guy.  I’m not a 7-5 guy.  No part of this program will settle.”

“I have a plan that I’m very confident in. We are going to reflect this university.”

“The next phase that has to happen is that we need to Commodore nation, fans, community of Nashville to be ‘all in.’ We are going to do some special things, but we can’t do it alone.  We need everybody all in.  It’s time for this community to come together.”

“We didn’t get into specifics (about facilities), it was more about ‘whatever it takes.’”

“My role will be the CEO of this program.  We will have an offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator.  There is core group of guys that want to come to Vanderbilt University.  We’ve been talking about it for years.  We’ll be working together.  They won’t be working ‘for James Franklin.’”


Quote from the vice-chancellor: “We don’t need to make any academic concessions to be successful.”

Quote from the president: “We told James, ‘Get the best staff you need.’  We have the resources for that.  I don’t expect him to be successful without a great staff and I think that is a big difference (from the past).”