Jay Beck

Jay Beck

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Wednesday, 22 January 2014 13:55

Oklahoma's Kendal Thompson transferring

Oklahoma's crowded situation at quarterback was apparently a little too crowed for Kendal Thompson. The sophomore who appeared in two games this past season announced on Tuesday night that he plans to transfer.

Thompson is set to graduate in May meaning he'll be able to transfer and play immediately with two years of eligibility remaining.

With Trevor Knight's out-of-this-world performance against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, the starting quarterback job is likely locked down next season. Not to mention, Blake Bell will return for his senior season meaning playing time will likely be hard to come by in 2014.

On top of that, former four-star recruit, Cody Thomas, will be coming off of a redshirt season and another four-star player, Justice Hansen, is part of the upcoming recruiting class. Former Texas Tech starting quarterback, Baker Mayfield, is also on campus with plans to walk on although he won't be eligible to play in 2014.

Thompson was in line to battle for the starting job this past season but a right foot injury sidelined him through fall camp and into the early part of the season. That opened the door for Knight and Bell to put a stranglehold on the top two spots although Thompson made a push late in the season as he started the second half against Oklahoma State before giving way to Bell following a shoulder injury to Knight.

With Thompson just making his announcement, there's been no word on where he may land, but you've have to think he'll be a hot commodity for a team in need of quarterback for the upcoming season.

Playing behind Landry Jones as a freshman and then his foot injury this season limited his chances of seeing significant playing time but he could, without much doubt, give the right team a big boost at the position.

 

Friday, 17 January 2014 17:05

Big 12 rankings heading into 2014

Laugh if you will, but it's never too early to start talking about next season.

 As coaching staffs around the country are focused on putting the finishing touches on their recruiting classes, let's take stock of what the teams in the Big 12 have to look forward to heading into 2014.

 Without a doubt, things will change a lot between now and August 30th, but here's rundown of who's on top, who's on the bottom, and everyone in between.

 

1. Oklahoma

No team in the Big 12 finished with a bigger bang than did the Sooners. Oklahoma had largely been forgotten on the national stage after losses to Texas and Baylor spoiled any hopes of winning another Big 12 title. Then came the victory over Oklahoma State to end the regular season keeping the Cowboys from claiming a Big 12 championship for themselves. And of course, that was followed by OU's victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl capping and 11 win season.

Quarterback Trevor Knight returns and if he plays anything like he did the in the Sugar Bowl, there's no reason not to be talking national titles again as far as the Sooners go. Oklahoma will have to plug a few holes on the offensive line along with a few on defense, but all-and-all, the Sooners return a wealth of talent making them the early favorites in the Big 12 next season.

2. Kansas State

USATSI 7448106 117736234 lowresSome may be surprised to see the Wildcats this high, but Bill Snyder has plenty to be smiling about heading into the offseason. Kansas State won six of their final seven games of the season which included a dismantling of Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

Both quarterback Jake Waters and wide receiver Tyler Lockett return giving K-State a lethal combination for defenses to try and stop. Daniel Sams also returns at quarterback giving KSU another option out of the backfield, as well.

That's the good news but KSU still has plenty of work to do in spring practice to fill some glaring needs. There will be three spot open on the offensive line, a replacement is needed for John Hubert at running back, and they'll be dealing with a revamped secondary as they look to replace defensive leader, Ty Zimmerman.

But if Bill Snyder has proved one thing, it's that there is no one better at mixing and matching spare parts and turning them into a unit nobody is excited to play. The key pieces are there to attempt another run at their second Big 12 title in three seasons.

3. Baylor

You can make a solid case to have Baylor in the second slot here and for good reason. Art Briles is back after some thought he might bolt for Texas. So is Bryce Petty who had a monster year in his first season as a starting quarterback. There's plenty of firepower returning for the Bears to make run at back-to-back Big 12 titles.

The offensive line loses some key pieces, namely Cyril Richardson who most expect will be drafted in the top two rounds of the upcoming NFL draft. Running back Lache Seastrunk is also heading to the NFL draft along with senior Tevin Reese. Reese's absence over the second half of the season due to a wrist injury limited the Bears big play ability down the field. Replacing him will be no easy chore although there's plenty of talent to choose from on their current roster.

The biggest question mark remains the defense even though it showed massive improvements this season over 2012.   As Central Florida showed in the Fiesta Bowl, there's still plenty of work to do as the Knights racked up 52 points and 556 total yards of offense.

Defensive back, Ahmad Dixon, is gone and so is linebacker Eddie Lackey along with both starting defensive ends. There was some youth on the defensive line, however, and the young group held up reasonably well and should be even better next season with another offseason of work.

If the defense can continue their improvement they showed for the bulk of this season, Baylor will continue to be a thorn in the side of every team they play.  They play of the defense in the Fiesta Bowl, however, proved there is more than a little work yet to be done.

4. Texas

Charlie Strong is the new man in charge and the culture change is officially underway in Austin. How much difference can he make in his first season?

Obviously the biggest question mark facing the new coaching staff is getting more consistent play from the quarterback position. David Ash is expected to return healthy from a midseason concussion, but Tryone Swoopes and incoming freshman Jerrod Heard could also factor into the equation.

Joe Wickline is excepted to call the plays for the first time at the FBS level after spending the past nine seasons as Oklahoma State's offensive line coach. He'll have Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron, and Johnathan Gray returning in the backfield which figures to make his job just a little bit easier.

It's not an outlandish thought to think Texas could be in thick of the Big 12 race in Strong's first season but there remains plenty to accomplish before getting there. It's tough to change a mindset of an entire prrogram  in just one season, but here's guessing we'll see a much improved product sooner rather than later in Austin.

5. Oklahoma State

USATSI 7433826 117736234 lowresThe Cowboys may have more key pieces to replace than any other team in the Big 12 heading into next season. Six of the top eight tacklers on the Pokes defense are gone in addition to defensive backs Justin Gilbert and Tyler Patmon along with defensive tackle, Calvin Barnett.

Offensively, J.W. Walsh will most likely take over once again for Clint Chelf at quarterback although that's probably far from a sure thing. Much has also been made of offensive line coach Joe Wickline going to Texas and if he was indeed as good as everyone says, the Cowboys could be in for some growing pains up front.

All that said, not counting Oklahoma State among the Big 12 title contenders is a mistake. The Cowboys have won at least nine games in five of the past six seasons for a reason so don't expect the Pokes to fall far.

6. TCU

The Horned Frogs have had their struggles during their first two seasons in the Big 12 but look for that to be changing in the very near future. TCU has suffered some major injuries while dealing with some inexperienced players across the board. Those inexperienced players are only inexperienced for so long, however, and outside of losing cornerback Jason Verrett and quarterback Casey Pachall, nearly everyone returns in 2014.

If Trevone Boykin can develop into the quarterback many think he can be, TCU's fortunes may be turning in 2014. B.J. Catalon and Aaron Green return at running back along with the top four receivers from 2013 giving new coordinator Doug Meacham plenty of tools in his toolbox. Combine that with a defense that will benefit from having Devonte Fields back on the field, and TCU could be the surprise team in the Big 12 next season.

7. Texas Tech

The Red Raiders are a tough team to peg heading into 2014. When the schedule turned more difficult last season, Tech dropped five straight games to end the regular season but finished with a big victory over a solid Arizona State team in the Holiday Bowl.

The loss of quarterbacks Michael Brewer and Baker Mayfield is concerning although Davis Webb's performance in the bowl games allows for plenty of reasons for optimism assuming they can find some depth behind him.

How does Texas Tech replace tight end Jace Amaro who left early for the NFL draft? The short answer is they don't and his loss couple with coupled with Eric Ward's graduation means they'll need some playmakers to step up to replace the 189 balls they caught between them in 2013.

8. Iowa State

Mark Mangino ISUThe Cyclones got a huge boost for their struggling offense with the hiring of Mark Mangino as offensive coordinator. While ISU will get a big boost in their play calling, it still takes players making plays. Grant Rohach showed promise at quarterback to end the season while the return of running back Aaron Wimberly and receiver Quenton Bundrage is a huge bonus.

Defensively, Jeremiah George and Jacques Washington combined for 252 tackles last season. Both are graduating. Those are two huge holes to fill heading into next season. There is still enough talent returning, however, namely Luke Knott and Jared Brackens, to make this a better than average unit.

Can the Cyclones return to a bowl game in 2014? Sure they can, but they open the season against a very good North Dakota State team (ask Kansas State about the Bison) and a road game at Iowa. How Iowa State fares in those two games will go a long ways in determining ISU's postseason hopes.

9. West Virginia

The Mountaineers struggle mightily last season finishing with a 4-8 record. Even so, West Virginia still held out hopes of going to a bowl game before losses to Texas, Kansas, and Iowa State to end the season put those hopes to rest.

With Ford Childress transferring, the quarterback duties likely once again fall to Clint Trickett. The Florida State transfer had his bright spots but also struggle with consistency. If he can show improvements in 2014, WVU's prospects for a successful increase dramatically.

Karl Joseph will lead a defense that improved last season but still has a long ways to go in stopping the offenses in the Big 12. There is some talent around him, however, with leading tackler Nick Kwiatoski returning along with Jared Barber giving WVU a good nucleus from which to build.

If there's any coach in the Big 12 on the hot seat next season, it is likely Dana Holgorsen. A four win season didn't sit well with the WVU faithful and athletic director Oliver Luck has made it clear he expects more. Of course, so does Holgorsen. Now he must prove he can deliver.

10. Kansas

USATSI 7421827 117736234 lowresCharlie Weis handed the reins of the offense over to John Reagan this offseason and Reagan will have his hands full with an unit that was held under 20 points in 10 of their 12 games last season. Not to mention, one of the most productive running backs in KU history, James Sims, has been lost to graduation.

Jake Heaps returns at quarterback but some Jayhawks fans are likely wonder whether that is a good thing. I'll argue it's a good thing although the Jayhawks would benefit greatly from improved play from the wide receiver position. Miami transfer, Nick Harwell, should help in that category immediately.

The Kansas defense returns largely intact and if some of the recent junior college signees can start to make a bigger impact, Clint Bowen has a group that will surprise some in the Big 12.

Kansas broke their Big 12 losing streak last season, finally. Now, can they get to a bowl game? Let's not get ahead of ourselves, but how they fare at upstart Duke in their second game of the season could be a good indicator of what's in store for KU in 2014.

There were four. Then there were three. Then two. And now one. Those are the dwindling numbers of quarterbacks on Texas Tech's roster, at least as far as the four-deep looked midway through the season.

Redshirt freshman Clayton Nicholas already announced his intention to transfer to Bowl Green. Then freshman Baker Mayfield announced last week was leaving, as well. That led to Wednesday's announcement that sophomore Michael Brewer was leaving school following his graduation from Tech this spring.

“I am honored to receive my degree from Texas Tech and will always call this university home,” Brewer said in a statement for the athletic department. “I will never forget the friendships and memories I have made here at Texas Tech. Lubbock has been nothing but great to me and my family and we will always USATSI 7585315 117736234 lowresappreciate that. Wherever I may go, I hope our fans will respect the person and player that I am. The decision to transfer was well thought out by my family and myself and was one of the toughest of my life. I feel it’s the right decision for me moving forward. As always, Guns Up!”

That leaves sophomore-to-be Davis Webb as the lone man on the roster outside of another true freshman, Collin Bowen.

What exactly is going on at Texas Tech? If you're a quarterback, I can't think of many coaches that would be better to play for than Kliff Kingsbury and yet guys are leaving Lubbock like the zombie apocalypse just struck town.

Mayfield sighted a lack of communication between he and Kingsbury regarding his status on the depth chart as his reason for leaving.

Brewer was the odds-on-favorite to win the starting job prior to the season but a back injury put those plans on hold opening the door for Mayfield and Webb. But even after returning to health midway through the year, he wasn't giving much of a chance despite the Red Raiders struggling down the stretch. Is that why he's leaving though?

The fact is, we'll probably never know. Each guy has his own reasons and I'd be shocked if there was any comment from Kingsbury other than to say good luck.

All the departures leave Webb as the man for 2014. That's not necessarily bad thing considering how well he played at times during his freshman season. But if Webb goes down, the cupboard is now bare behind him which has to be a little concerning for Red Raider fans.

Dual threat quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, is expected to arrive this summer as part of the 2014 recruiting class, that is if he doesn't decide to play baseball. Mahomes, the son of former MLB pitcher Pat Mahomes, is a highly sought after baseball recruit and could be a high selection in the upcoming MLB draft.

For those of you wondering - like me - whether Brewer's decision may have reopened the door for Mayfield to return, he put those rumors to bed before they had a chance to get started via Joe Schad.

 

So what once looked like an abundance of talent at the position is now down to just one scholarship quarterback for spring practice.  That's good for a healthy Davis Webb but if he goes down for any length of time, Tech might have to revert to on-campus tryouts among the studen population to find another one. 

Of course, Texas Tech started this past season with a walk-on quarterback that didn't even arrive on campus until the summer months.  That worked out in their favor with a 7-0 start to the season. 

It might not be an ideal situation at the moment, but here's guessing Kingsbury and company get it figured out before kicking off against Central Arkansas come August 30th.

There was horrible news out of Ames on Wednesday morning with the announcement that ISU defensive line coach Curtis Bray passed away while working out at the Bergstrom Football Complex.

Bray had been an assistant on Paul Rhoads' staff during his entire tenure in Ames going back to 2009.

Bray's loss will be felt far and wide and it was obvious in the social media world the he had a huge impact on those who either played for or had the chance to cross paths with him.

 

 

 

 

 

“Curtis Bray was a dear friend to me and to all he ever came in contact with,” head coach Paul Rhoads said. “He was a trusted and loyal assistant coach who always put the kids and the team in front of his work. He was as genuine in his approach to relationships, coaching and life as anyone I have ever been associated with. We will miss him dearly.”

Bray is survived by his wife, Heather, and two young children.  Prayers go out to his family and the Cyclone Nation.

Monday, 13 January 2014 17:34

Iowa State getting a bargain with Mangino

As far as assistant coaching salaries go, it's safe to say Iowa State is getting a steal with the hiring of Mark Mangino as their offensive coordinator.

Paul Rhoads announced Mangino's hiring last week and on Thursday, the Ames Tribune was reporting Mangino will be paid $350,000 for the 2014 season and $375,000 in 2015.

Mark Mangino ISUKeep in mind, this is a guy that has national championship under his belt while the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, not to mention, he turned Kansas into a respectable Big 12 team while winning a BCS bowl game with the Jayhawks to go with it.

As far as Big 12 coordinators go, Mangino's salary will be about as cheap as they come. Shannon Dawson is making $300,000 at West Virginia although we know who's calling the shots for the Mountaineers.

Clint Bowen at Kansas made $275,000 in 2013 although he didn't add the official title of defensive coordinator until after the season which I'm guessing might involve a pay increase for 2014.

Even Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator, Mike Yurcich, who hadn't coached above the Division II level prior to going to Stillwater is pulling in $400,000.

This isn't meant in any way as a slight against the Cyclones for not paying what appears to be market value for good coordinators. It's simply meant to point out Iowa State is getting themselves a top-shelf play caller at pennies on the dollar.

According to USA Today's coaching salary database, there were three coordinators pulling in over a million dollars per season in 2013 and a whopping 59 assistant coaches making $500,000 or more.

As is the case with all coordinators, Mangino will be judged by his success on the field - not his paycheck - but credit has to be given to Paul Rhoads for going out and getting a guy that knows his way around an offense without having to break in bringing him to Ames.

West Virginia redshirt freshman quarterback, Ford Childress, is no longer part of the Mountaineer football program according to the Charleston Daily Mail. Childress had been suspended by head coach Dana Holgorsen for the upcoming semester before he informed the coaching staff he wouldn't be returning to school.

The quarterback position was going to be a big question mark heading into the 2014 season and will be even more so now that Childress is out of the equation.

Of the three quarterbacks that started games this past season, Childress appeared to have the most upside although a torn pectoral muscle limited him to just two starts after taking over for senior-to-be Paul Millard in West Virginia's third game of the season. He did not play the rest of the season due to the injury.

Florida State transfer Clint Trickett started seven of the final eight games with mixed results. It was revealed following the season that he had been playing with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, an injury he will have surgically repaired this week. His status for spring football remains in question.

That could leave Millard as the only quarterback with playing experience available for spring practice. He'll be joined by junior college transfer Skyler Howard who enrolled in school last week after playing one season at Riverside City College in California.

With Childress gone and Trickett possibly out until fall camp opens, Howard should get plenty of opportunity to show what he can do. If all goes well, he could very well compete with Trickett for the starting quarterback job this fall.

Whatever the case, shaky quarterback play plagued the Mountaineers during their 4-8 season and will be a be huge point of emphasis as WVU prepares for their third season in the Big 12. West Virginia had been to a bowl game every year for the past 11 seasons before falling back to just four wins in 2013.

There's still plenty of time before WVU opens with Alabama on August 30th, but considering the issues the Mountaineers had at quarterback 2013, the early news coming out of Morgantown certainly doesn't instill confidence things are going to improve anytime soon.

A healthy Trickett should help but with the reliance Holgorsen puts on his quarterbacks, there's still far more questions than WVU has answers heading into winter conditioning.

Thursday, 09 January 2014 15:52

Handing out the Big 12's bowl grades

Another bowl season has come to an end and for the Big 12, there was plenty to be excited about mixed in with a couple disappointing performances to go along with it.

In total, the Big 12 finished with a 3-3 record. Not great, but not bad either considering they faced a brutal slate of games.

There were three great wins coupled with two bad unexpected losses. Using a 4.0 scale, the Big 12 checks in on this year's report card with a 2.78 GPA for the bowl season. Not the GPA of a rocket scientist, but hey, who wants to be a rocket scientist anyway.

On with the grades...

Honor Students

Oklahoma: grade A+

Beat Alabama, 45-31, in the Sugar Bowl

The Big 12 has lost of bit of respect of late versus the SEC but they got a big chunk of it back in New Orleans thanks in large part to the Sooners victory over Alabama. Short of a national title, it's hard to imagine how Oklahoma's season could have finished any better coupled with the Bedlam victory over Oklahoma State to end the season.

Nobody gave Bob Stoops and the Sooners much of a chance against the defending back-to-back national champions, but Oklahoma took it to the Crimson Tide thanks in part to Trevor Knight's coming out party.

The redshirt freshman was brilliant throwing for 348 yards on four touchdowns against Nick Saban's defense.

If you said prior to the season Oklahoma would beat Alabama in a bowl game, you would have figured the Sooners would have been national champions. That wasn't the case, but it's still a huge win for the Oklahoma program.

Texas Tech: Grade A

Beat Arizona State, 37-23, in the Holiday Bowl

Heading into the bowl season, not many gave Texas Tech a chance against the Sun Devils who had put together a 10 win season in a tough Pac-12. Texas Tech, meanwhile, was nursing a five game losing streak after starting the season 7-0.

None of that mattered in San Diego as the Red Raiders jumped to an early lead and never looked back. Davis Webb was on fire throwing for 403 yards and four touchdowns while the defense held ASU to 23 points, 18 points under their season average.

It's always a good thing when the opposing coach says after the game, "I am very embarrassed for our program," as Todd Graham did following the game. Here's a double gun salute to Texas Tech who will have plenty to smile about heading into winter conditioning.

Kansas State: Grade A

Beat Michigan, 31-14, in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

The Wildcats were the first Big 12 team on the docket and got the league off to an impressive start by beating Michigan like a drum in Tempe.

Michigan was without their starting quarterback, Devin Gardner, but it might not have mattered because the Wildcats dominated the Wolverines in the trenches on both sides the entire night.

Michigan finished with just 65 yards rushing (40 coming on a run in garbage time) giving no support to quarterback Shane Morris who was making his first career start.

Meanwhile, Jake Waters probably played his best game of the season completing 21-27 passes and three touchdowns all of which went to Tyler Lockett.

The Wildcats had a miserable beginning to the year, but the way they finished the season combined with their impressive bowl performance leaves many reasons for optimism heading into 2014.

Making the Grade

Oklahoma State: Grade B

Lost to Mizzou, 41-31, in the Cotton Bowl

The Cowboys got together with their former Big 12 mate, Missouri, in the AT&T Cotton Bowl and although they suffered their third loss of the season, there wasn't much to hang their head about.

The Cowboys held the ball at the Missouri 23 yard line with just over a minute to play before Clint Chelf was sacked and fumbled the ball which was returned 73 yards for the final 10 point difference.

The Pokes outgained Mizzou 548 to 462 yards and allowed James Franklin to complete just 15 of his 40 pass attempts but it still wasn't enough.

All told however, it was still a solid performance against a Mizzou squad that caused plenty of headaches for teams in the SEC this season.

USATSI 7646919 117736234 lowresImprovement needed

Baylor: Grade D

Lost to Central Florida, 52-42, in the Fiesta Bowl

Given the Big 12's bowl schedule this year, about the only win you could chalk up a sure thing was Baylor beating UCF, champions of the American Athletic Conference. As it turns out, however, it wasn't nearly the sure thing as most of us thought.

The Bears came in as 17 point favorites but did not hold the lead the entire night. UCF quarterback Blake Bortles used both his arm and legs tearing through a Baylor defense that morphed in the Baylor defense we saw the past few seasons, not the one that helped Baylor to this year's Big 12 title.

In total, UCF racked up 556 and won the game despite losing the turnover battle, three to one.

As good as the wins by Oklahoma and Texas Tech were for the Big 12, Baylor's loss stung the most of any team in the Big 12.

It was still a fine season for Baylor - one of the best in the school's history - but it's still a loss that will likely stick in Baylor's craw throughout the offseason.

Texas: Grade D-

Lost to Oregon, 30-7, in the Alamo Bowl

Mack Brown's final performance as the Texas head coach went just as most expected. The Texas offense was terrible inconsistent while Oregon faced little resistance from the Longhorn defense as Marcus Mariota tallied 386 yards of total offense.

The Ducks scored on the third play of the game after Case McCoy's pass was intercepted and returned 37 yards for the touchdown. A field goal on the ensuing possession would be all the scoring Oregon would need.

As has been the case for most of the past four season, Texas was again plagued by shaky quarterback play. McCoy could get nothing going in the passing game finishing with just 48 yards while the Texas offense as a whole mustered a meager 236 yards for the game.

The run through the middle part of the season was impressive but In the end, UT finished just the way it began when they were drubbed by BYU and Ole Miss back in September.  Oregon is much better than either of those two, but here's guessing most Longhorns fans can't wait to get the Charlie Strong era started.

Texas booster Red McCombs wasn't happy with the way the hiring process went down in Austin and he wasn't afraid to let his feelings be known this week.

What did Charlie Strong think of McCombs' airing his displeasure? Dan Patrick asked Strong about the comments during his radio show on Wednesday.

"There are going to be statements made. You can't worry about that. You just move on. You have a job to do. You can't worry about what people say or think. I'm going to get judges by my work here," Strong said. Once you win some football games, you're going to change a lot of people's attitudes."

There's nothing to see here, really. Strong made the smart move and took the high road.

When it comes down to it, McCombs statement was largely irrelevant in the big picture. Strong knows that so why ruffle any more feathers? If he wins, people will love him. If he doesn't, he'll be looking for a new job in three of four years. It's as simple as that.

The expectations are high at Texas whether or not he as McCombs support. "They're high everywhere (expectations). You have to win," Strong said. "Everybody wants to win. I look at it like this, at the University of Louisville we were 7-6, 7-6, we go 11-2 and then 12-1 and sometimes people think you should have went undefeated."

Nobody is probably expecting Texas to go undefeated next season, although you can bet 10 or 11 wins remains the expectation. And wouldn't it be cool to ask McCombs how the crow tastes? McCombs himself might not even mind that.

You can listen to Patrick's entire interview with Strong below.

Welcome to Austin, Charlie Strong.

It seems there's always politics at play when it comes to hiring head coaches at big time football programs and when it comes to Texas, there's probably more than most.

As the Longhorns were set to hire Louisville coach Charlie Strong, many wondered how he would handle everything that comes with the job that isn't related to football.

His media responsibilities will increase tenfold and there's plenty of handshaking to be done when it comes to keeping the powers at be feeling like part of the program.

It looks as if Strong may have some extra work to do when it comes to UT booster Red McCombs who had been a big supporter of Mack Brown.

Red McCombs3McCombs took to the radio on Monday and didn't sound too thrilled he wasn't involved in the search process.

"I think it's a kick in the face," McCombs said. Beyond the fact of what actually happened. We have boosters that have a lot of knowledge about the game. When we decided to go get Mack, from the time we decided to go get Mack to about 30 hours later to have a press conference here and it was done. We had a lot of input before we went after him."

He also said the whole thing was a bit "sideways" and that Strong would make a great position coach and maybe even a coordinator.

So that's just a little interesting. Way to throw your support behind the new guy who's hadn't been on the job more than a few hours before lobbing grenades in his direction.

Strong, no doubt, already knew Texas wasn't Louisville although I'm guessing he thought it would take a little longer before he found out for sure.

Did McCombs miss the part on Strong's resume regarding his time as Florida's defensive coordinator where he more than proved his worth? Or maybe he overlooked his four years as Louisville's head man where he turned around a downtrodden program and led them to a BCS bowl victory?

McCombs did soften his stance in an interview with the Dallas Morning News although it was still evident he was disappointed he wasn't consulted as he lobbied for John Gruden to land the job. He had spoken to Gruden and believed he was very interested although he had his concerns.

"I was disappointed on a relative basis," McCombs said. "I thought we had a chance to have the absolute beauty of the ball and instead we got a princess of the ball. We'll do well with Charlie. I don't have any doubt. I have no issue with Charlie. I just happened to think I had a champion of the world that could've done it. And Charlie may be another one. We'll just have to see."

Is Charlie Strong going to be successful at Texas? Probably, but it's impossible to know for sure. Would Gruden have been successful? Maybe, but there's no way to know. On some level Gruden may have been a bigger gamble considering he's been so far removed from the college game.

What seems obvious is that McCombs isn't helping the situation by taking his hurt feelings to the media. Of course, when guys that are used to getting their ways suddenly don't, helping apparently takes a backseat to a little kicking and screaming.

It's no surprise McCombs is taking a few shots from the national media this afternoon.  

 

 

Mark Mangino has been hired as Iowa State's offensive coordinator which should be music to the ears of Cyclone fans.

I love the hire. Love it.

This is the same guy that was part of national title team as Oklahoma's offensive coordinator in 2000 and led Kansas to a 12-1 season including a BCS bowl game victory. That's the same Kansas that has compiled a 9-40 record with two different coaches since he left Lawrence.

mangino-markYes, he departed Lawrence amid some controversy stemming from his mistreatment of players, but I'm guessing that's not going to be a problem going forward.

One, because Paul Rhoads simply isn't going to allow it to happen. And two, this is a guy that was out of coaching for three seasons before Youngstown State gave him a shot as an assistant. He needed a second chance and Paul Rhoads has finally given him one, and a big one at that. And if he reverts back to his (alleged) old ways, well, see reason number one again.

The simple fact is this guy can coach offensive football and if you've seen Iowa State's offense the past few seasons, you know it's a group that could use a little imagination. They'll get and then some with Mangino pulling the strings in Ames.

It doesn't change the fact that Iowa State's talent on offense is still in need of an upgrade, but Mangino will immediately help shore of some of those deficiencies. And with a guy like Allen Lazard set to step on campus, the future looks brighter than it did yesterday for the Cyclones with Mangino in the fold.

“I am beyond thrilled to welcome Coach Mangino to the Cyclone football family,” Rhoads said. “He has an imaginative offensive mind, an ability to play to his players’ strengths, a track record of winning and a tremendous familiarity with the Big 12 Conference. In terms of calling plays and executing a game plan, he is top shelf. He has learned from a ‘Who’s Who’ of college coaches, effectively led his own championship program and is respected throughout the coaching ranks.”

Kudos to Paul Rhoads on the hire.

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