Wins and losses don't always tell the whole story
Coming into this season, D-II Livingstone College had won a total of one game in the previous two years. In 2010, their closest loss was a 13 point loss in their season finale. In 2011 they made significant strides, with three of their losses coming by less than ten points (with one being a three point loss in overtime).
When head coach Elvin James took the job back in December of 2009, the program had the second longest losing streak in the country, and hadn't had a win in front of their home crowd since 2008.
In their first two seasons on campus, the offense ranked last in the conference, and totaled about 1,500 yards each season (1,356 yards in 2010 and 1,177 yards in 2011). In 2010, the team found the end zone just seven times. That number nearly doubled to 13 the next season.
The 2012 season has been a different story, written in a completely different book. The offense has really clicked, accounting for 3,665 yards and 33 touchdowns, while averaging 386 yards per game. Their total yardage this season eclipsed their combined total from the past two seasons. 2012 also marked the first time since 2007 that a running back had over 1,000 all purpose yards (1,073) and four receivers combined for over 140 receptions and 13 touchdowns.
Livingstone also entered uncharted territory with back to backs wins (by a combined seven points) in weeks four and five of the season. It's also worth mentioning that they're getting all this done with a freshman quarterback under center who has set numerous school records (some that have stood for nearly 50 years).
The Bears have really closed the gap on their competition on the field, and finding a way to win the close games is a mark of a program on the rise. Additionally, the play of their young quarterback and other young players shows that the staff is doing an impressive job evaluating talent and getting them on campus and coaching them up.
While 2-8 doesn't show the results that any coaching staff would like to see, it's evident that Coach James and his staff have laid a solid foundation, and the program should be in great shape moving forward in 2013.
Keith Patterson: We did fewer things with fewer people
Including their 70-63 shootout win over Baylor back in week four of the season, West Virginia gave up at least 45 points and 400 yards of total offense in four of their next five games. They've dropped their last three straight, but co-defensive coordinator Keith Patterson saw some major improvement against TCU Saturday.
After losing in double overtime on Saturday to Gary Patterson and his TCU staff (39-38) when they decided to go for two and the win instead of kicking the extra point to head into triple OT, Mountaineer co-defensive coordinator Keith Patterson noted that they made some changes that allowed them to be more sound defensively throughout the game. At halftime Saturday, they had held the Horned Frogs to just seven yards rushing.
"We tried to get guys on the field that we knew we could trust, and guys that have shown that over the past two weeks." Patterson added that they also cut down on coverages a little bit, and put more emphasis on fundamentals like timing up their blitzes during the week.
Patterson noted that their focus now turns to keeping players spirits up and showing them where they have improved and the importance of playing a full sixty minutes. Their remaining schedule of Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Iowa State, and Kansas leaves no room to overlook anyone.
"You've got to build on the positive. College football has no time to sit and dwell on this one, you have to figure out a way to win next week." he said.
Monday TV - Philly at New Orleans
Philadelphia takes on New Orleans tonight in The Big Easy.
Eastern time listed.
Philadelphia at New Orleans - 8:30 - ESPN
The video you have to see: Chuck Pagano in the Colts' locker room
The Indianapolis Colts beat the Miami Dolphins 23-20 Sunday afternoon. That was the trivial news to break out of Lucas Oil Stadium today. In far more important matters, Chuck Pagano, the Colts' first-year head coach currently on a leave of absence as he fights leukemia, returned to watch his team play.
After the win, Pagano addressed the team in what will undoubtedly be the most emotional post-game speech in the 2012 football season.
"My vision that I'm living is to see two more daughters get married, dance at their weddings and then host that Lombardi Trophy several times."
Every other great post-game locker room speech is now jockeying for 2nd place.
Kentucky announces coaching change, Joker Phillips issues statement
Early Sunday afternoon, Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart announced that the school would make a change in its coaching staff at the conclusion of the season.
"After much conversation, evaluation and prayer, I have determined that it is in the best interest of our athletics program to make a change in our football coaching staff at the conclusion of the season," Barnhart wrote. "I do so with a heavy heart for a man who has served his alma mater for almost 22 years as a player and a coach Joker Phillips has carried the banner for the Blue and White with honor and pride. I have enjoyed working alongside him and am thankful for his friendship for the last decade. His concern for the entire program, his work and teaching of young people, his humanitarian work, and the friendship we all enjoy with him will long surpass the scoreboard. I want to thank him for all of those things on behalf of Kentucky.
The search for a new head coach will begin immediately and will be managed internally. I understand the challenge and significance of finding a new leader for our football program. It will be done with great concern for our student-athletes, students of the University of Kentucky, the Big Blue Nation and the citizens of the Commonwealth. Kentucky Football needs to be and will be a championship contender in the SEC.
"The search for a new head coach will begin immediately and will be managed internally," Barnhart continued. "I understand the challenge and significance of finding a new leader for our football program. It will be done with great concern for our student-athletes, students of the University of Kentucky, the Big Blue Nation and the citizens of the Commonwealth. Kentucky Football needs to be and will be a championship contender in the SEC."
Later Sunday afternoon, Phillips issued a statement of his own.
"I am very appreciative of Mitch Barnhart and Rich Brooks for providing the opportunity to have been the head coach here," wrote Phillips. "Mitch is the best athletic director I've ever been associated with. He's fair and honest and he's "all in" in terms of student-athletes' well-being. Rich is the best mentor a young coach could ever have. I learned a lot from him in terms of plowing ahead. They are dear friends. Dr. Lee Todd and Dr. Eli Capilouto have both been very supportive. I appreciate the Big Blue Nation and encourage the fans to stay behind their team going forward."
Pure class by Phillips in a very difficult time.
Coaches of the Week - Week 10
Plenty of coaches across the nation did outstanding jobs in preparing their teams to play, but the group below shined above the rest to win our Coaches of the Week for Week 10 of the college football season.
Head Coach of the Week - Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana - Lafayette: Hudspeth's team became the first squad outside the Big 12 and SEC to defeat ULM with a 40-24 win on Saturday, snapping a two-game losing streak to their intrastate rivals. The 24 points was a season-low for the Warhawks, while the Ragin' Cajuns became the first Sun Belt team to drop 40 points on ULM in regulation since 2009. Quarterback Terrance Broadway was an efficient 23-of-32 for 373 yards and four touchdowns with one interception, while Hudsepth's team controlled the line of scrimmage by out-rushing ULM 234-74. The win moved ULL one victory away from a second straight bowl berth and just one game back of first place in the Sun Belt.
Offensive Staff of the Week - LSU: Credit must be given to Oregon for putting up school records (and USC opponent records) with 62 points and 730 yards, but this week we recognize the work of Greg Studrawa and LSU's offensive coaches. The Tigers offense outperformed even the loftiest expectations against college football's top total, scoring, passing and pass efficiency defense. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger played his best game as a collegian, connecting on 24-of-35 passes for 298 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Running back Jeremy Hill became just the fifth opponent in Nick Saban's tenure at Alabama to run for 100 yards against the Crimson Tide (29 carries, 107 yards, one touchdown). The Tigers moved the ball consistently on Alabama by refusing to leave the field. They were successful on 10-of-20 third downs and ran 85 plays, which adds up to 39:15 time of possession, allowing the Tigers to penetrate for two touchdowns and three field goal attempts.
The last team to put up 435 or more yards of offense against Alabama? That would be LSU -- in 2007.— Andrew Gribble (@Andrew_Gribble) November 4, 2012
Defensive Staff of the Week - UCLA: One week after slicing and dicing the USC defense to the tune of 588 yards and 39 points, the Arizona offense compiled just 257 yards and 10 points in a 66-10 shellacking by UCLA. The Bruins held the Pac-12's leading passer Matt Scott to a season-low 124 yards on 15-of-25 attempts. Defensive coordinator Lou Spanos' unit limited Arizona to 3-of-14 on third down, a season-worst 18 first downs, recovered three fumbles and forced seven punts. It did not surrender a touchdown until midway through the third quarter with the Bruins nursing a 42-point lead. The UCLA coaching staff decided to wear war paint on the sidelines and if Saturday's results are any indication, Bruins football just got itself a new tradition.
Special Teams Unit of the Week - San Diego State: Special teams keyed a historic win for San DIego State on Saturday night, 21-19 over Boise State. In defeating Boise State 21-19 on Saturday night, the Aztecs earned the program's first win over an AP top 20 team away from home. Colin Lockett opened the game with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. That play stood as San Diego State's only offense until Dwayne Garrett blocked a punt in Broncos territory and returned it to the 8-yard line. Two plays later, San Diego State had its second touchdown of the day and a lead it would not relinquish.
Call of the Week - Butch Jones and Mike Bajakian, Cincinnati: A few weeks ago in this space we promised that any time a coach goes for two and the win late in a game would receive automatic Call of the Week honors, so respect must be given to Gary Patterson and TCU for doing just that in their 39-38 win in double overtime at West Virginia. But this award goes to head coach Butch Jones and Mike Bajakian for doing what no staff has done - calling a jump pass in the middle of the field. Jump passes entered national consciousness with Tim Tebow at Florida in 2006, and we've even seen some running backs execute the play in recent years but the play had exclusively been used as a goal line tactic until Saturday. Trailing Syracuse 10-7 and facing a 4th and 2, Cincinnati opened the second quarter with a simple hand off to tailback George Winn. As Winn approached the line of scrimmage he sprung in the air and found Travis Kelce all alone behind the defense for a 37-yard touchdown. Cincinnati would go on to defeat Syracuse, 35-24.
Lane Kiffin: "You've always got to look at yourself"
As recently as a few months ago, USC head coach Lane Kiffin has been criticized for what many have called a lack of maturity. The criticizm came to a head following his now-infamous 29 second press briefing in September.
However, none of that person was present during Kiffin's press conference Saturday night following the Trojans' 62-51 loss to Oregon.
When asked how much blame the coaching staff deserves for USC's fall from preseason No. 1 to a three-loss team, Kiffin had this to say.
"All of it," Kiffin said. "That's what you do as coaches. For us to have the penalties that we've had, the turnovers, (it's a big part of) the three losses. The first two, we were ahead in those games. We should have closed those games out."
Kiffin continued, offering an assessment of his performance against the Ducks.
"There's things I could have done better," Kiffin said. "There were situations where I could have called better plays. You've always got to look at yourself. I could have put us in a better situation at the end of the half."
Obviously, offense wasn't the reason USC lost to Arizona and it wasn't why Oregon beat the Trojans. USC allowed a school-record 730 yards to Oregon, one week after allowing Arizona to compile 588 yards.
"If you have back-to-back games where you're giving up 600 yards, we've got to look at what we're doing," explained Kiffin. "That's not real sound and that's not where we want to be. I don't have an answer right now or else I would have tried to fix it during the game."
The Trojans defense dropped 32 spots in the NCAA rush defense statistic after Oregon posted 426 yards on Saturday night.
With dates against No. 17 UCLA and No. 2 Oregon still ahead, here's hoping for Kiffin's sake he doesn't have to show off his mature side any more this season.
Colorado AD Mike Bohn promises changes coming for football program
In an interview with the Boulder Daily Camera on Saturday, Colorado athletics director Mike Bohn took stock of the Buffaloes' football program, expressing the need to make changes. The Buffs lost 45-0 to Stanford at Folsom Field, dropping their record to 1-8 on the season.
"We're not where we want to be," Bohn said. "No one is happy with what has happened on the field, players, coaches, staff, fans."
In his second season on the job, Embree is 4-18 at Colorado. The Buffaloes are in the midst of a five-game losing streak, scoring no more than 17 points and allowing no less than 42 points during the skid.
"Recognizing our shortcomings early in the season, coach Embree, his staff, our leadership team along with football professionals have been engagedin numerous endeavors to address our challenges," Bohn said. "We are working to correct voids now in an effort to not lose time before the end of the season."
Earlier this season, CU President Bruce Benson issued suport for Embree.
"I don't like to micromanage," Benson said in September. "There's no point that I or anybody else is going to step in that I know about. So we're going to play it out. We're going to rebuild and be positive and move forward."
Read the Boulder Daily Camera's full report here.