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The Scoop on Paul Petrino to Idaho

We have learned that Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino has been named the next head coach at Idaho. 

Petrino, 45, is a native of Butte, Mont., and played at Carroll College in Montana. He has coaching stints at Carroll, Utah State and, most importantly, Idaho under his belt. Petrino has previously executed excavation efforts at Louisville, Illinois and Arkansas. 

In 50 games at Louisville, Petrino's offense scored 40 more points 28 times. His 2010 Illinois offense set a school record with 423 total points. And Petrino guided an Arkansas offense that set a school record with 3,640 passing yards in 2009. 

Petrino has skins on the wall, there's no question about that. But it's all the other stuff he will have to attend to that will decide whether his tenure as Idaho's head coach will be a successful one.

"I'm very excited," Petrino said in the school's press release. "It's a dream come true. I've wanted to be a head coach my whole life. I had a chance to come back out to the Northwest.

"We want to score a whole bunch of points, be explosive on offense and hit that quarterback on defense," Petrino continued. "We want to win a whole bunch of games and go to bowls."

There might not be an FBS program with more uncertainty surrounding it at this moment than Idaho. With the WAC disintegrating its football arm, it is unknown at this time whether Idaho will compete as an FBS Independent in 2013. It is unknown at this time whether they will make their permanent home in the Sun Belt Conference, in the Football Championship Subdivision or as an FBS Independent. There are pros and cons to each option. All will present challenges for Petrino and his staff. 

On the field, Petrino inherits a team fresh off a 1-11 season. Since reaching a program high point with a 43-42 win over Bowling Green in the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl, the Vandals slipped to 6-7 in 2010 and 2-10 last season before going 1-11 in 2012. Idaho ranked 107th or lower in 12 of the 17 official statistics tracked by the NCAA. Their best statistic was net punting, where they placed 50th.

Needless to say, Petrino is going to have his work cut out for him on multiple fronts.


The Scoop on Mark Stoops to Kentucky

No one can accuse Kentucky of under-selling the hiring of Mark Stoops. First, there was the behind-the-scenes look at the UK brass' trip from Lexington to Tallahassee to pick up Stoops and his family on Sunday morning.

Then, there was the press conference set up that looked closer to a pep rally than a press conference. The press conference was set up on the field at the Wildcats' indoor practice facility with blaring music and a large video screen showing Kentucky football highlights.

Finally, there was athletics director's Mitch Barnhart's statement of where he wants Stoops to take the Wildcats. "You deserve a championship program," Barnhart said. "We want to play in Atlanta (for the SEC championship) and on New Year's Day."

To his credit, Stoops did not shy away from Barnhart's goals, saying his expectations were, "To play in the SEC Championship. And to win it."

Stoops and Barnhart first talked on the Saturday, Nov. 10 following Florida State's Thursday night win over Virginia Tech. The two agreed to a five-year, $11 million contract on Monday night.  

"I'm highly motivated to build this program to national prominence," Stoops said to cheers from the crowd. "I believe in this administration and the commitment they're willing to make to this football program."

Stoops said he isn't concerned with what happened in the Wildcats' 2012 season. "I'm really not interested in what happened before," Stoops said to more cheers. "We're not too worried about the results right now, we're worried about the process."

He will, however, meet with UK's current assistants and will consider retaining a few of them, saying "Absolutely you consider them." Stoops said he has not had a chance to visit with any of the current Kentucky assistants but he hasn't ruled out retaining any of them. He declined to say whether he has considered hiring any Florida State assistants to his staff.

Stoops plans on interviewing prospects for the offensive coordinator role soon. He feels he has his defensive staff close to complete and will focus hiring an offensive staff. "We're going to have an offense you're going to be proud of," Stoops said to even more cheers. "We have to be creative. We will spread it out and we'll use some bells and whistles to get going."

Finally, below is a photo that best illustrates just how festive this press conference was.


VIDEO: Mark Stoops heads to Lexington

The Kentucky athletic department has provided a nice behind-the-scenes look as the Wildcats' brass travels from Lexington to Tallahassee to bring their new head coach to campus.  

First: Kentucky athletics staff depart from Lexington to Tallahassee to pick up Stoops. Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart and his staff prepare for the press conference. 

Next: The plane lands at the Tallahassee airport where UK personnel greets Stoops and his family. 

Then: Stoops and co. are ready to board the plane back to Lexington.

Finally: Stoops goes through a debriefing from Kentucky staffers on the football facilities and the plan once he arrives on campus.

UPDATED: Skip Holtz let go at South Florida

Skip Holtz was let go as South Florida's head coach on Sunday. The news comes one day after South Florida was beaten by Pittsburgh, 27-3, to close the year. The Bulls finished the 2012 season with a 3-9 overall record and a 1-6 mark in Big East play, good for last place in the conference. 

Holtz led South Florida to a 16-21 record in three seasons at South Florida. The Bulls' win totals decreased in each year of his tenure, dropping from 8-5 in 2010, to 5-7 last season, to 3-9 this year. South Florida carried a 2-12 record in Big East play over the last two seasons. 

According to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, the school will owe Holtz $2.5 million over the next five years. Defensive coordinator Chris Cosh is also due $325,000 in 2013. 

"It's not easy to part ways with such a good man," said USF athletic director Doug Woolard. "However, we must put a more successful football program on the field." Woolard said USF won't use a search firm in a traditional sense but may use one for background checks on candidates.

The current staff will "continue to work as they have been." Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch will handle all football-related issues, and each assistant will have the opportunity to be retained by the new head coach.

Woolard trumpeted USF's facilities and location as assets when hiring a new head coach. The school has put $100 million into facilities, and Woolard cited the Bulls' new football practice facility and locker rooms. He also noted USF's location in a large media market and target-rich recruiting environment as factors that will attract a new coach.

Woolard didn't indicate whether he preferred an active head coach. "Our pool can include any coordinator at the FBS level, plenty of head coaches and I imagine we'll attract some interest from the NFL."

How hot of a topic is conference realignment across the college sports landscape right now? Nearly every other question Wooloard fielded had a realignment angle attached to it. 

Holtz also released his own statement, shown below.

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Coaches of the Week - Championship Week

It was Championship Week in college football, so which coaches delivered championship efforts on Saturday? Find out here in our FootballScoop Coaches of the Week. 

Head Coach of the Week - Nick Saban, Alabama: Saban's team survived a rip roaring, record-breaking SEC Championship with a 32-28 win over Georgia and now sits on the precipice of history. The Crimson Tide were far from perfect on Saturday (see: special teams) but in the end they were five yards better than Georgia. Alabama came out on top of a game that set an SEC Championship record with six lead changes but after falling behind 21-10 in the third quarter, it was Alabama that scored 22 of the game's final 29 points. Saban's decision to go for two after T.J. Yeldon's 10-yard touchdown run loomed extremely large as it forced Georgia to need a touchdown on the game's final drive rather than a field goal. That one extra point is what caused the Bulldogs to run out of time at the doorstep of the goal line. 


Offensive Staff of the Week - Wisconsin: Doug Nussmeier called a great game for Alabama, but Wisconsin's night in the Big Ten Championship can not be ignored. Matt Canada's offense compiled 63 points and 640 yards in a 70-31 thrashing of Nebraska. The Badgers ran 50 times for a mind-boggling 539 yards and eight touchdowns. Melvin Gordon ran nine times for 216 yards (24 yards per carry!) and a touchdown, Montee Ball pounded out 21 rushes for 202 yards and two scores, and James White rushed 15 times for 109 yards and four touchdowns. When they needed to throw, three Wisconsin passers combined to complete 8-of-10 attempts for 101 yards and a touchdown. In all, Wisconsin snapped the ball 60 times and averaged 10.7 yards per play and scored a touchdown on nearly 15 percent of their plays. 


Defensive Staff of the Week - Florida State: In his final outing as Florida State's defensive coordinator, Mark Stoops orchestrated a masterpiece. The Seminoles held Georgia Tech to 183 yards on 52 carries (3.52 yards per carry), their second-worst output of the season, and 5-of-16 passing for 118 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Karlos Williams' interception with with one minute to go ended Georgia Tech's last gasp drive and sealed the ACC championship for Florida State. Stoops' unit also played solid red zone defense, holding the Yellow Jackets to two field goals and one touchdown in three trips. Stoops will now move on to assume the head coaching position at Kentucky, but his closing act sent Florida State to its first Orange Bowl since the 2005 season. 


Special Teams Unit of the Week - Georgia: A hat tip must be given to Tulsa for returning a punt for a touchdown and blocking a field goal and extra point in their 33-27 overtime win over Central Florida, but Georgia was clearly the best special teams unit of the week. Georgia opened the second quarter with a fake punt pass from punter Arthur Lynch to cornerback Sanders Commings for 16 yards on 4th and 10. The play got Georgia inside the Alabama red zone, and two snaps later the Bulldogs had a 7-0 lead. Then, with Georgia leading 14-10 with just over 6:30 to go in the third quarter, Alec Ogletree returned a blocked field goal 55 yards for a touchdown to put Mark Richt's team up by 11 points. 

Call of the Week - Nick Saban, Alabama: It was mentioned above, but deserves further explanation here. After T.J. Yeldon rumbled in from 10 yards out at the 4:19 mark of the third quarter, Saban chose to go for two trailing 21-16. The Crimson Tide was in the midst of a second half feeding frenzy after Yeldon had rushed four times for 47 yards on the drive. Saban gambled that his offensive line could get him two-and-a-half more yards, and he was correct. That extra point was crucial after Georgia drove all the way to the Alabama eight-yard line with 15 seconds left. With no timeouts, the Bulldogs couldn't just spike the ball, send in their field goal unit and play for overtime. Aaron Murray had to throw, and linebacker C.J. Moseley's tipped pass landed in the arms of Georgia receiver Chris Conley in bounds at the five-yard line, essentially ending the game and sending the Tide to Miami. 

Don't tip-toe around questions with Mark Richt

Georgia came up 5 yards short of an SEC title last night, despite giving up 350 yards rushing, in an extremely hard fought 32-28 loss.

After the game, a reporter tip-toed around a question that involved Richt's struggle to win the "big game" (he is just 2-10 against AP top 10 teams).

Listen to Richt's response below. Well played coach.

Sunday TV - NFL games all day

Some solid NFL action on today to get the week started off right. Savor it, because after Monday Night Football tomorrow night, Thursday night will be the next time you see a game.

Eastern time listed.


Jacksonville at Buffalo - 1 - CBS

Seattle at Chicago - 1 - FOX

San Francisco at St. Louis - 1 - FOX

New England at Miami - 1 - CBS

Arizona at NY Jets - 1 - FOX

Indianapolis at Detroit - 1 - CBS

Minnesota at Green Bay - 1 - FOX

Houston at Tennessee - 1 - CBS

Carolina at Kansas City - 1 - FOX

Tampa Bay at Denver - 4:05 - FOX

Cleveland at Denver - 4:25 - CBS

Cincinnati at San Diego - 4:25 - CBS

Pittsburgh at Baltimore - 4:25 - CBS

Philadelphia at Dallas - 8:20 - NBC


No games

High School:

No games

The Scoop on Dave Doeren to N.C. State

We have learned that Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren has accepted the head coaching position at N.C. State.

"Coach Dave Doeren is a highly motivated overachiever who shares our goals to pursue aggressively a high level of achievement in the classroom and on the field of competition," stated N.C. State athletic director Deborah Yow.

Doeren, 40, took over as the Huskies' head in 2011 after Jerry Kill left for Minnesota. In two seasons, Doeren led Northern Illinois to a 23-4 record with back-to-back Mid-American Conference championships. Doeren accepted the N.C. State job one day after leading the 12-1 Huskies to a 44-37 win in double overtime over Kent State in the MAC Championship.

"I am honored and excited to join the Wolfpack. NC State has world-class facilities and fans that are second to none," Doeren said. "I want to thank Chancellor Woodson and Debbie Yow for this tremendous opportunity. My family and I can't wait to get to Raleigh and become Wolfpackers. While I look forward to our future at State, I want to acknowledge and thank the Northern Illinois players and fans for their support the last two years, especially President Peters and Jeff Compher [athletic director]."

We are told to look for offensive line coach Rod Carey to be promoted to head coach at Northern Illinois. 

Doeren played at Drake from 1990-93 and got his start in coaching at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in Shawnee Mission, Kan. Doeren coached linebackers at Drake (1995-97), Montana (2000-01) and Kansas (2002-05), with a pit stop as a graduate assistant at USC from 1998-99, before taking the defensive coordinator position under Bret Bielema at Wisconsin from 2006-10. 

We aren't aware of any significant ties Doeren has to the immediate local area so look for him to hire some talented assitants with local connections. As always, we'll keep you posted on The Scoop