'Defensive coordinators are their own worst enemy'

For any staff that has been through a bowl prep period, having the extra time on your hands to prepare can prove to be both a blessing and a curse.

As Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti explains, having 12 games worth of film to watch on their opponent Kansas State, and a ton of time (compared to regular season prep) is a defensive coordinator's worst nightmare. Having that much time and film to review can sometimes lead to over-analyzing.

"Defensive coordinators, and some may not be as bad as me, are their own worst enemy."

"We have to prepare more during a time of peace, because an offense knows exactly what they're going to do. They have their personnel groups, they have the plays that they're going to run. Defensively, you have to prepare for everything and when you have a team with 12 games, that's a lot of film to look at and different things to concentrate on."

That makes a ton of sense.

Do defensive coaches out there that have prepared for bowl games, or situations similar to bowl games, agree?

The Scoop on Ron Caragher to San Jose State

We learned Monday afternoon that San Diego head coach Ron Caragher is leaving for the same position at San Jose State. Caragher steps in for Mike MacIntyre, the most successful coach in recent San Jose State history, who left for a similar position at Colorado.

Caragher, 45, took over at San Diego after his predecessor Jim Harbaugh left for another Bay Area school, Stanford. Caragher continued the Toreros success, going 44-22 in six seasons with a share of three Pioneer Football League titles and a 34-13 league record. 

"I'm excited about the opportunity to lead the San Jose State football program. Having grown up in the San Jose area, I understand the rich tradition of Spartan football -- it's lineage of great coaches, terrific teams, and outstanding players." Caragher said in a statement.

A native of Morgan Hill, Calif., located just 22 miles south of San Jose, Caragher played at UCLA from 1986-89 and worked on the Bruins coaching staff from 1994-02 under head coaches Terry Donahue and Bob Toledo. After serving as a graduate assistant for two years, he was promoted to wide receivers coach and also spent time working with the team's kickers and punters. He left Westwood to be the running backs coach at Kentucky from 2003-06 before replacing Harbaugh at San Diego.

Caragher figures to further MacIntyre's efforts making recruting inroads in the state of California, and will be tasked with keeping the Spartans' success on rolling on the field. San Jose State finished the regular season with a 10-2 record and ranked No. 24 in both the AP and USA Today polls, its first national ranking since 1990.

Under Caragher, the Toreros finished the 2012 season with an 8-3 record and their second consecutive share of the PFC championship. San Diego ranked inside the Football Championship Subdivision top 20 of six categories, including passing efficiency (151.5, 11th), rushing defense (120 ypg, 15th) and scoring defense (19.3 ppg, 14th). 

The Scoop on P.J. Fleck to Western Michigan

Western Michigan has agreed to hire P.J. Fleck as its newest head coach.

At just 32 years old, Fleck will become the youngest head coach in FBS. Fleck comes to Western Michigan from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he served as the team's wide receivers coach. He played at Northern Illinois from 1999-03 and spent two years in the San Francisco 49ers organization. 

Fleck's coaching career began as a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 2006. In 2007, he was the wide receivers coach at his alma mater. Fleck added the role of recruiting coordinator in 2009. He then left to join Greg Schiano's staff at Rutgers in 2010 and followed him to Tampa Bay in 2012, working as the wide receivers coach at both spots. Before joining the Bucs (ten months ago), Fleck had agreed to become offensive coordinator at NIU; but changed his mind one day later stating he didn't "feel he's ready to be an offensive coordinator" according to Dave Doeren. 

SI.com's Pete Thamel reported that Western Michigan athletic director Kathy Beauregard cited "energy and enthusiasm" as reasons for tabbing Fleck as her next head football coach. Fleck takes over for Bill Cubit, whose coaching career started three years after Fleck's birth.

Fleck takes over a program that reached bowl eligibility five times between 2005 and 2011 but fell back to 4-8 this fall. The Broncos finished in the middle of the pack in the MAC in most statistics but lost five of its last six games to close the season. 

Update> WMU has confirmed the hiring...and alerted all of us to the fact that P.J.'s wife Tracie went into labor today. Holy smokes, what a day in their lives!



Cincy reveals new helmets for Belk Bowl

Cincinnati will be rocking these for the Belk Bowl against Duke on the 27th.

They definitely went down "the path less traveled" with this one. Thoughts?

The Scoop on Stats: Best of the Best (Defense)

Yesterday we took a look at the major NCAA offensive statistics to see which teams stood alone as the best in college football. Today, it's time to look at the defensive side of the ball. 

Without further ado...

Rushing Defense - Mount Union (D-III - OH): 48.2 yards per game. This category was like walking down a set of stairs. The lower you got, the closer you got to the floor. Alabama led FBS with 79.8 ypg, Harvard led FCS with 69.4 ypg, Shepherd (W.Va.) led Division II with 52.6 ypg, and then there was Mount Union. The Purple Raiders limited opponents to just 1.58 yards per carry this season.

Passing Defense - Wisconsin - Lutheran (D-III): 123.2 yards per game. Opposing passers completed just 122 passes for 1,232 yards in 10 games against the Warriors. For the record, Mount Union placed third in this category.

Pass Efficiency Defense - Carroll (D-III - WI): 78.1 opponents' quarterback rating. Carroll allowed just 43.6 percent of passes to be completed for just 4.56 yards per attempt, while permitting just 10 touchdowns with 22 interceptions. For the record, Mount Union finished second in this category.

Total Defense - Mount Union: 180.6 yards per game. The Purple Raiders, who won the Division III championship with a 15-0 record, finished more than 40 yards ahead everyone else in the NCAA. With an average of 2.93 yards allowed per play, a typical series ended with the opponent faced with a 4th and 1. 

Scoring Defense - Mount Union: 8.93 points per game. The Notre Dame defense, led by FootballScoop Defensive Coordinator of the Year Bob Diaco, placed second but, really, could it have been anybody else? Mount Union allowed 18 touchdowns and three field goals, 134 total points, in 15 games. The Purple Raiders did not allow a single point between Sept. 15 and Oct. 20, pitching six straight shutouts.

Other defensive statistics....
Turnovers Gained - Winston-Salem State (D-II - NC): 43
Tackles For Loss - West Virginia Wesleyan (D-II): 11.09 per game
Sacks - Linfield (D-III - OR): 5.25 per game
First Downs Defense - Mount Union: 11.07 per game
Third Down Defense - Salve Regina (D-III - RI): 23.39 percent  (40-for-171)
Fourth Down Defense - Wesleyan (D-III - CT): 12.5 percent (2-for-16)
Red Zone Defense - Heidelberg (D-III - OH): 50 percent (13 TDs and 4 FGs in 34 attempts)

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