Digital Headbutt

A sports blog about stuff…stuff that involves things.

Archive for February, 2008

Thank God The Teddy Bear Caught On

Posted by Mike on February 29, 2008

Or else this picture would haunt our daily nightmares.

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According to The Saint Louis Athletics website, the Billiken was a lucky charm that had a huge following in the early 20th century. The doll was named after William Howard Taft, the new U.S. President. The first manufacturer of the dolls, Horsman Dolls Inc., produced them as a sort of sequel to their original hit presidential toy, the Teddy Bear. The mere thought of a Build-A Billiken Workshop feels like something akin to birthing the undead.

However, that isn’t why I posted this picture. I also didn’t intend to target Rick Majerus for two posts in a row. But I simply cannot stop laughing at this picture, and what’s could be about to happen. They both have that evil grin on their face. Either Majerus or the mythical creature to your right is about to be eaten…and frankly, I’m not sure which.

Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, College Basketball, Rick Majerus, WTF | Leave a Comment »

Has Wilford Brimley Joined The Witness Protection Program?

Posted by Mike on February 28, 2008

Or has Dieter just really, really let himself go? YOU DECIDE!

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Whomever he is, he happens to be coaching the Saint Louis Billikens basketball team tonight.

Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Atlantic 10, Bad Sports Fashion, College Basketball, Rick Majerus | Leave a Comment »

You Must be This Tall To Ride The Coaching Carousel: FCS (Division I-AA)

Posted by Mike on February 25, 2008

Welcome to Digital Headbutt’s 4-part-its-way-too-early-to-think-about-college-football-again series, You Must be This Tall to Ride the Coaching Carousel.

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After the 2007 season, a total of 18 Division I FBS head coaching vacancies opened and closed. We can expect just as many, if not more, next season. Of those 18 vacancies, 9 were filled by coaches who had never led an FBS program before. Usually, these newbies come from one of four sources: the FCS, FBS assistants, NFL assistants, and (somewhat) unsuccessful NFL head coaches trying their luck the next level down. We will briefly summarize each sector, and look at the next possible hires. In essence, we look at who is currently waiting in line to ride the coaching carousel.

Let’s start with a survey of FCS head coaches who could have FBS jobs next year.

Advantages of an FCS Hire: Proven Winner as Head Coach of a Division I Program, albeit on a smaller scale. Much less expensive than wooing an FBS head coach, NFL assistant, or high profile coordinator. Can introduce a system that FBS opponents have never seen before.

Disadvantages of an FCS Hire: Much smaller scale; may not be prepared for the environment at a big-time football program, either in terms of athletics or academics. Coaching techniques may not translate to FBS. May be more difficult to earn the respect of his team.

Recent FCS Hires: Jim Harbaugh (San Diego to Stanford), David Bailiff (Texas State to Rice), Jerry Kill (Southern Illinois to Northern Illinois), Paul Wulff (Eastern Washington to Washington State).. In addition, big schools tend to hire them as assistants (such as Tennessee hiring Richmond’s Dave Clawson).

Leading by Example: Jim Tressel (from Youngstown State), Paul Johnson (from Georgia Southern).

Cautionary Tales: Joe Glenn (from Montana), Kirk Ferentz (from Maine).

On to the candidates…

Candidate #1: Bobby Hauck, Montana.

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Credentials: Holds a 52-14 record as head coach of the Montana Grizzles, and has made the 1-AA/FCS playoffs every year of his tenure. He hasn’t lost a game in the Big Sky Conference since 2005. Hauck has held a number of assistant jobs in the FBS prior to becoming Montana’s head coach. He was a positional defensive and special teams coach at Colorado and Washington, and a graduate assistant at UCLA.

There were rumors surrounding him for quite a few job openings in 2007. He chose to sign a one year extension with Montana instead of the 3-year deal the Grizzlies wanted. That can mean only one thing: he’s expecting a call from an FBS program.

Lastly, look at this picture and tell me he isn’t gonna get you to run through a wall.

What needs to be addressed: How much of his head coaching success can be attributed to him, and how much can be attributed to Joe Glenn, his predecessor? How do we know that he isn’t going to just flip somebody off on the sidelines? And can he explain how he plowed through your 2007 regular season schedule and then bowed out in the first round of the FCS playoffs…at home? Granted, it was against Southern Conference co-champion Wofford, who beat 3-time champ Appalachian State earlier in the year. But still…

Where he might land: Washington, Utah State, Wyoming, Arizona, UNLV.

Candidate #2: K.C. Keeler, Delaware.

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Credentials: Took over the Blue Hens program after the legendary Tubby Raymond retired. He immediately substituted the Delaware Wing T, an offensive staple for middle school teams everywhere, in favor of a modified West Coast offense. In 2003, he provided the Blue Hens what Raymond could not: their first National Championship. The Blue Hens also made the finals this year before losing to App. State. When the Michigan coaching search got really desperate, his name was thrown about.

What needs to be addressed: Like Hauck, he needs to prove how much of his success is his own and not Tubby Raymond’s. His change in the offense helps that perception.

Where he might land: Syracuse, Marshall, Pitt, Kent State.

Candidate #3: Jon Heacock, Youngstown State.

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Credentials: 43-27 record in seven seasons as Penguins head coach. Defensive coordinator for Tressel’s YSU teams in the 90s. His brother, Jim, is the current Buckeyes assistant coach.

What needs to be addressed: Does continuing what Tressel started at the FCS level really require much input?

Where he might land: Kent State, Pitt, UL-Lafayette, Louisville.

Candidate #4: Mark Farley, Northern Iowa.

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Credentials: 63-25 in seven seasons as UNI head coach. Spent four years and a linebackers coach at Kansas (1997-2000). Has made the FCS playoffs in four of his seven years, including one semifinals and one finals appearance. Arguably the best head coach in the state of Iowa right now.

What needs to be addressed: Like the other teams with coaches on this list, the Panthers enjoyed great success under Terry Allen in the early and mid-1990s. Unlike the other coaches, Farley had to return this team to prominence after the somewhat failed tenure of Mike Dunbar.

Where he might land: Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Toledo.

Candidate #5: Mike Ayers, Wofford.

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Credentials: Turned previously unheralded programs at East Tennessee State (now w/o football) and Wofford (with less than 1,500 undergrads) into FCS powers. Very successful at doing more with less, even when compared to other FCS programs. Among the coaches in the powerful Southern Conference, Ayers seems to be the most qualified (barring App State’s Jerry Moore, who almost certainly isn’t going to move from Boone at his age).

What needs to be addressed: Would BCS conference programs be scared off because of his age (59)? Probably. Combine that with most BCS programs being a bit skittish about hiring for head coaches from the FCS in the first place, and it might kill any chances he has at a major program. However, his accomplishments at Wofford may be difficult to ignore.

Where he might land: Marshall, Louisiana Tech, Florida International, Memphis. Perhaps he could bring a program to the big time…like Howard Schnellenberger has with just about every college team he’s coached.

Posted in Coaching Carousel, College Football, Division I FCS, Unfounded Speculation | 5 Comments »

#2 Tennessee vs. #1 Memphis Live Blog: Battle for the Parallelogram

Posted by Mike on February 23, 2008

This game has been hyped up all week, especially after Duke’s losses. As of this point in the the season, the Tigers and Vols have proven themselves to be the two best teams in the country. Tonight is the start of what could be a great in-state rivalry. Both teams are led by coaches with huge egos. Everyone has called this the game of the year.

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By definition, this game stands a 70-80% chance of being a disappointing blowout. I like those odds. Let’s watch.

9:05 pm: Tennessee has so many Smiths on the roster, Dan Schulman can’t tell them apart.

9:06 pm: 4-0, UT. JaJuan Smith hits the open three in the corner after the Vols outhustled Memphis on at least three loose balls. Calipari sees their flat play and calls a timeout 35 seconds into the game.

9:08 pm: 7-6, UT. Unless something changes soon, this game could become a shooting contest. JaJuan and Derrick Rose have hit two each.

9:09 pm: 9-9. Antonio Anderson with another 3! This game has been insanely fast for the first two minutes.

9:10 pm: 11-9, UT. Ramar Smith is getting some easy shots inside.

9:12 pm: For the first two minutes, the Tigers couldn’t miss. Right now, they’ve missed their last 4 or 5 shots.

9:14 pm: 14-11, Memphis. Chris Douglas-Roberts gets his first shot of the game, and he hits a three.

17-11, Memphis. Antonio Anderson hits another one!

9:15 pm: 17-14, Memphis. And then JaJuan Smith hits another one!

9:16 pm: 20-14, Memphis. Is anyone going to hit a two point shot tonight?

9:17 pm: 20-17, Memphis. Duke Crews gets the basket and the foul.

9:20 pm: In terms of fashion disasters, I think we’ll settle for Bruce Pearl’s bright orange suspenders.

9:21 pm: 21-17, Memphis. Unbelievable. The threes won’t stop falling, yet neither of these teams can buy a layup right now. They’re like the Tar Heels of the evil parallel universe.

9:25 pm: 23-17, Memphis. Jeff Robinson hits a floater in the lane.

9:27 pm: 23-21, Memphis. Too many Smiths! My brain can’t take it! It’s like I’m watching the black Matrix, and the Vols are the agents. Bright orange, horrifically dressed, headbanded agents.

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9:29 pm: 29-24, Memphis. And it continues to rain threes for the Tigers. Eight three pointers and one two pointer so far.

9:37 pm: Speaking of Tennessee fashion disasters: Peyton Manning’s orange plaid shirt….(shivers)

9:39 pm: 31-24, Memphis. Derrick Rose drives inside for a layup after Memphis gets a few big offensive rebounds.

9:40 pm: 31-26, Memphis. Chris Lofton has yet to score a point in this game, and we’re near halftime.

9:46 pm: 33-26, Memphis. The following demonstrates the the shooting of both teams so far in this game…

The first ten minutes:

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And the second ten minutes:

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9:50 pm: 35-32, Memphis. Tennessee gets back within a possession thanks in part to their free throw shooting.

9:52 pm: And we hit halftime. Memphis leads, 35-34 in a slightly sloppy but otherwise exciting game. To win, the Tigers need to either get the threes falling again or start driving at the Vols’ small interior defense. The Vols, meanwhile, must get Chris Lofton involved in their offense and cut down on turnovers.

10:11 pm: 36-35, UT. Tennessee takes the lead, as Memphis’ threes have gone completely cold.

10:12 pm: 37-36, Memphis. Dozier finally gets a chance inside, and it pays off.

10:13 pm: 39-37, UT. Wayne Chism hits a three to give the lead back to the Vols.

10:17 pm: Track meet, or Yackety Sax? You decide.

10:18 pm: A huge injury for the Vols as one of UT’s few big men, Wayne Chism, lands awkwardly on his ankle.

10:20 pm: 39-39. It seems that Memphis only player scoring in the paint is their point guard, Derrick Rose. He drives in for a tough layup over two outstreched defenders’ arms.

10:25 pm: 45-39, UT. J.P. Prince, the only Vol without a headband right now, in almost single-handedly taking over this game.

10:27 pm: 45-41, UT. Douglas-Roberts gets a huge momentum-stopping basket. Like Lofton, we haven’t heard as much from CDR as Memphis needs.

10:28 pm: 45-43, UT. …until now. Roberts with another huge basket, and it’s a one-possession game again.

47-43, UT. Chris Lofton finally gets his first basket of the night.

10:32 pm: 50-43, UT. It;s a bit jarring when your opponent’s center starts draining threes.

The Vols seem to be playing smarter basketball in the second half when J.P. Prince is on the floor.

10:37 pm: 50-47, UT. Now that Chism is hobbling a bit and the threes aren’t falling, Memphis is attacking the paint with a bit more impetus. Right now, that’s what’s keeping them in the game.

10:40 pm: Joey Dorsey picks up his fourth foul. Worse for him, he is simultaneously balding and trying to get away with cornrows.

10:42 pm: 53-47, UT. Prince with another key basket in transition. Memphis is forced to take another timeout, and they now have only one left for the remainder of the game.

10:45 pm: 53-49, UT. Under 8 minutes left in the second half. On ESPN2: guys impaling the faces of fish. Juuuuuuuust thought you should know.

10:49 pm: In 12 minutes, the Tigers have scored 14 points. They have yet to hit a three in the second half.

54-51, UT, 7:23 left. If Memphis wins this game, it will be on the shoulders of Derrick Rose.

10:50 pm: 56-53, 6:38 left. Suddenly these two teams are exchanging drives inside. It’s the exact opposite of the first half.

10:51 pm: 58-55, 5:38 left. Just as Dozier brings Memphis to within one, J.P. Prince makes another huge play in transition.

10:52 pm: 58-57, 4:59 left. Derick Rose is exhausted, but he simply will not let his team lose.

10:54 pm: 4:12 left. Andre Allen goes to the line with a chance to tie.

…Naturally, he misses them both. Such is the dilemma with Memphis.

10:58 pm: 59-58, Memphis, 3:20 left. Memphis takes the lead thanks to a baseline shot by, who else, Derrick Rose. He now has 22.

11:00 pm: 2:55 left. The charity stripe continues to fail the Tigers.

11:02 pm: 61-58, 2:19 left. Derrick Rose with the perfectly run fast break, and CDR with the finish…but he gets hurt on the play. Not good for the Tigers.

11;03 pm: 61-60, 1:57 left. Agent Tyler with the basket inside, and Tennessee makes it a one point game again.

1:10 left. What a play by Rose to keep the ball in Memphis’s hands with one minute to go.

:41.5 left. Great passing, but Memphis can;t convert, as they miss an easy look. Tennessee ball.

26.5 left. Tennessee with the basket to take the lead back! It’s agent Tyler with another huge basket.

:8.8 left. Memphis can’t get a good shot, and are forced to foul J.P. Prince.

What a game this has been. Certainly a game that lived up to its in-state #1 vs. #2 hype.

:2.9 left, 64-61, UT. Tennessee makes the smart play and fouls Rose before he can make a shot. He makes the first and intentionally makes the second, but Memphis can’t get the offensive rebound, and are forced to foul Chris Lofton.

11:13 pm: Lofton hits his free throws, and the game is over. Tennessee wins, 66-62, and will be #1 in the country for the first time in school history. Memphis played as hard a game as they could, and Derrick Rose had a performance for the ages. But three aspect of the game faile3d the Tigers tonight. The Vols got more offensive rebounds, Memphis couldn’t hit a three pointer in the second half, and they were 8-17 from the free throw line.

Overall, it was an unbelievably exciting game that lives up to the hype.

 

Posted in College Basketball, Conference USA, Live Blog, Memphis, SEC, Tennessee Volunteers | 5 Comments »

Joe Paterno Announces Successful Recruitment of Richard Pryor

Posted by Mike on February 11, 2008

 

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The Penn State coach eagerly awaits Pryor’s letter of intent.
State College Police said they may intervene if Pryor attempts to come. Said the police chief, “One flesh-eating zombie running around town is bad enough.”

Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Am I going to hell for this?, Big Ten, College Football, Cult of Personality, Great Moments in Stupidity, Penn State, Recruiting, Way More Tags Than This Post Merits, Zombies | Leave a Comment »

CORRECTION: Rick Pitino Ruins Colored Blazer Trend Forever

Posted by Mike on February 10, 2008

See if you can tell the difference…

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And…

Yeesh. And you thought Bob Huggins was tacky. But the color is not why he ruined the trend forever. It’s because he abandoned it in the second half, and Louisville came back to pull the upset of #6 Georgetown. Coaches, being the superstitious types, could see this as a sign that the basketball gods are not happy with colored blazers. Oh well, ii was fun while it lasted. Plaid it is then!

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Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Bad Sports Fashion, Big East, Georgetown, Louisville, Rick Pitino | Leave a Comment »