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Tom O'Brien let go at NC State


After six seasons, North Carolina State let go Tom O'Brien earlier today. 

In four of his six seasons at the helm, O'Brien lead the program to a bowl a game, but always came up short of competing for the ACC title. The Wolfpack finished 7-5 this season, and O'Brien compiled a 40-35 record overall in Raleigh (with eight of those wins coming against FCS competition). His best season was 2010 where he led NC State to a 9-4 record, but since then their win total has diminished by one each year.

In conference play, O'Brien was just 22-26 and finished above the .500 mark just once. Atlantic Division road games were always an area of concern under O'Brien as well, as he went just 1-14 in six seasons. 

Although the Wolfpack found a way to beat a top 3 Florida State team the first weekend of October, they struggled with consistency issues all season. They lost to Tennessee to open the season by two touchdowns, and then gave up a 10 point lead to eventually lose to Miami. Later in the season, Virginia came into Raleigh on a six game losing streak and took home a 33-6 win.

In his official statement, O'Brien (who has been coaching at the college level since 1975), noted that he is finally "looking forward to life after football."

“I appreciate the opportunity to have coached at North Carolina State University and I feel that the program is in a better place now than when I started. I’m proud of the young men that I have coached here, for their accomplishments on the field and in the classroom. Wolfpack football is as sound academically as it’s ever been with a [single year] APR of 990 to be reported this spring. I appreciate all of my coaches and wish them the best and I look forward to life after football.” O'Brien said. 

Offensive coordinator Dana Bible will take over on an interim basis for the bowl game, and all assistants have been retained as they continue their bowl preparations. Athletic director Debbie Yow will meet with the media at 5pm ET today.

Here is a link to North Carolina State's official announcement.

VIDEO: Go inside the Notre Dame locker room

Notre Dame provided some great footage from the locker room and sidelines of last night's win over USC.

The video opens with Brian Kelly's halftime address to his team. The Fighting Irish led 16-10, and you can see on Kelly's face how close they are to 12-0. "Alright men, this is it," Kelly said. "This is it! Play the last two quarters together and play to the last second. That's who we are. Be who we are.

"You've got a great opportunity. Go seize the moment. Let's go play."

The video then picks up at Notre Dame's goal line stand and shows the post-game celebration on the field.

Kelly enters the locker room to cheers from his players and a kiss from Joe Theismann. 

"You put yourself in the history books," Kelly told his team. "Our want and desire to win football games is unparalleled, and it's because of great players and a great coaching staff."

"We're going to South Beach."

VIDEO: Jim Mora wins the press conference

After Saturday's 35-17 loss to Stanford, UCLA head coach Jim Mora opened his post-game press conference giving customary credit to Stanford for their win.

Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers nabbed the first question and immediately engaged Mora in a dialogue of whether Mora truly wanted to win the game. Mora, of course, dismissed the allegation wholeheartedly. 

Here's his quote: "Because we're competitors, T.J. Those guys in there don't spend all the time they spend preparing for a game in the offseason, during the week, the sacrifices they make to go out and not try their best to win ... So that's what they did, and they came up a little short. To insinuate that our players didn't give their best effort"

Simers, however, continued arguing in favor of the angle he took in his post-game column

"I've never in my life stepped on the field and given less than my best, nor will I ever," Mora continued. 

I give Mora a lot of credit for showing restraint here. I've been in my share of post-game press conferences and have never seen a press conference get derailed quite like that, especially right off the top. 

At the four-minute mark, another media member asked if Mora held anything back for next week. Mora answered, "We're trying to create a culture about winning. You try to win every single time you step on the field and if you don't do that you cheat everybody. You cheat yourself, you cheat your players, you cheat your alumni, you cheat the students the students that suport you, you cheat your fans. We're trying to be great."

At the 5 minute mark Simers again comes back for more and Mora responds a bit this time. Watch the death stare at about the 5:40 mark. Priceless. Mora wins this one. 

Watch for yourself below.


Coaches of the Week - Week 13

Here are the coaches whose work jumped out to us as the best across college football for Week 13.

Head Coaches of the Week - Brian Kelly, Notre Dame and Urban Meyer, Ohio State: Thirteen weeks ago, 124 FBS teams were unbeaten and now only two are left standing. Each coach led his team to an emotional win and each team showed the mark of a true winner, growing more focused with every step closer it got to the finish line. Meyer's Buckeyes started the day by playing an inspired defensive effort to choke out Michigan, not allowing the Wolverines to cross midfield in the second half. Kelly's Fighting Irish went on the road and played like the better team for all 60 minutes against USC. Notre Dame's offense threw for 217 yards, ran for 222 yards and never turned the ball over. The defense limited USC to a lone field goal in the second half, and its exclamation point, of the game and the season, came in a goal line stand with two minutes left. 

Offensive Staff of the Week - Florida: The Florida offense has been far from effective for much of this season but the Gators came up big when it mattered the most on Saturday in defeating Florida State, 37-26. The Seminoles brought in college football's best run defense and Florida ran for 244 yards, its third-best performance of the season. Florida State brought in the nation's best total defense and Florida accumulated 398 yards, more than it gained against Bowling Green, Missouri, Louisiana - Lafayette and Jacksonville State. Brent Pease's group scored 37 points, three times what Florida State normally allows. Florida State led the nation in third down defense, allowing opponents to compete 25 percent of their opportunities. Florida converted over half of its third downs (8-of-15). Florida State allowed the fewest first downs in college football. Florida gained 21, one more than Florida State. 


Defensive Staff of the Week - Kent State: No defense filled the box score quite like Jon Heacock's Golden Flashes in topping Ohio 28-6 on Friday. Kent State returned a fumble and interception for touchdowns in building a 21-0 first-quarter lead. The Golden Flashes created a total of four fumbles on the day, sacked Bobcats quarterback Tyler Tettleton eight times and forced Ohio to punt nine times. Kent State held an Ohio offense that has run for 210 yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry to just 107 yards and 2.1 yards per carry. Ohio's 339 yards were its third-fewest of 2012 and, most importantly, its six point output was its worst of the season. 


Special Teams Unit of the Week - Notre Dame: On a night when Notre Dame moved the ball everywhere except the red zone, sophomore kicker Kyle Brindza came up huge for the Fighting Irish. He hit 5-of-6 field goals, including a career long 52-yarder, the second longest field goal in school history, just before the half to give Notre Dame a 16-10 lead at the break. Ben Turk boomed three punts for a net average of 44.3 yards, and the Irish coverage units neutralized the explosive Marqise Lee and Robert Woods in the return game. George Atkinson III also returned a kickoff 39 yards, setting up Brindza's fifth field goal to put the Irish up by two scores, 22-13, with 5:58 to play. 

Call of the Week - Mark Tommerdahl and Sonny Dykes, Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs didn't win the game, but they do win our Call of the Week with a beautiful fake field goal call of Saturday night's game with San Jose State. Trailing 17-6 in the second quarter, Louisiana Tech lined up for a 33-yard field goal when holder David Gru grabbed the snap and ran left, directly at the oncoming edge rusher. Gru then  shoveled it forward to Malon Lee (who had lined up as the right wing), who raced in for a 15-yard touchdown. A bit of a read option type look, nice design.  

The Saints took their team photo yesterday...




Do. Your. Job.

Why do some "Spread" teams struggle on defense?

Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today Sports wrote an interesting article about the question of why some "Spread" teams struggle defensively. 

Schrotenboer's article, in which he quotes Sonny Dykes and Mike Leach extensively (and relays information from a survey conducted by our friends at X&O Labs), presents a number of theories; but, as you might expect, neither the coaches, nor the author, were able to come to a consensus on some "spread" teams struggle defensively. 

The full article can be read here

Sunday TV - Packers and Giants on tonight

Plenty of quality NFL games on tonight, including the Packers and Giants later tonight.

Eastern time listed.


Minnesota at Chicago - 1 - FOX

Oakland at Cincinnati - 1 - CBS

Pittsburgh at Cleveland - 1 - CBS

Buffalo at Indianapolis - 1 - CBS

Denver at Kansas City - 1 - CBS

Seattle at Miami - 1 - FOX

Atlanta at Tampa Bay - 1 - FOX

Tennessee at Jacksonville - 1 - CBS

Baltimore at San Diego - 4:05 - CBS

St. Louis at Arizona - 4:25 - FOX

San Francisco at New Orleans - 4:25 - FOX

Green Bay at NY Giants - 8:20 - NBC


No games

High School:

No games

Update on Purdue

Sunday 3PM Update> We have confirmed that Danny Hope has been let go. Details to come...

Original Story:

Danny Hope's 4th season at Purdue started off 3-1. Unfortunately, 5 straight losses followed (Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Minnesota and Penn State). At that time, we checked with sources on the staff and seemed to believe that if they won their final three they would have another year to continue to show improvement.

Well, the Boilermakers did just that. They won their final three (at Iowa and Illinois and against Indiana today). 6-6, 3-5 in the Big Ten. Bowl eligible; but is it enough?

Sources tell us we'll all find out tomorrow and we'll certainly keep you posted.

We listened to Coach Hope's press conference after their win over Indiana. Inevitably the question came up, listen to how Hope answered. I guess he's just speaking honestly; but his response likely wouldn't be characterized by most as positive.