The Director’s Report: Mid-season thoughts

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The Top 25

I have no complaints with the Top 5. Alabama, Oregon, Ohio St, Baylor, and Florida St all belong there. Teams like Fresno St and Northern Illinois should not be in the Top 20. Sure, they are good, but they haven’t played anywhere near the competition of some teams that have two or three losses. The only team that might be considered good on the Northern Illinois' schedule to date is Iowa. The Huskies beat Iowa by three in the season opener. Iowa has a 5-3 record right now. The only other school they have played that has a winning record is Eastern Illinois and they are an FCS school. Fresno St is similar. The only “good” wins they have are against Rutgers and Boise State, both by one point. Both Rutgers and Boise State are middle of the road teams this year. Put either Northern Illinois or Fresno in the PAC 12, SEC, or even Big 12 this year and they would be .500.

UCLA and Arizona State are not top 25 teams. UCLA has played good teams the last two weeks and got blown out. LSU is currently ranked 11th, yet they lost to Ole Miss last week and struggled for a half against FCS Furman. These voters need to do some more research before they vote.

Brett Hundley – UCLA Quarterback

Hundley is a redshirt sophomore quarterback who, to date, is having a fairly good season. In his last two games against Stanford and Oregon, he has struggled. He looked like, well, a redshirt sophomore who is still developing. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has Hundley ranked as the fifth best prospect for next spring’s NFL Draft. In my opinion, Hundley isn’t in the top 50, let alone the top five. He does some good things. He is athletic and can make plays with his feet, but he isn’t ready to jump to the NFL. Brett, if you’re reading this, stay in school, you will be far better off in the long run.

Notre Dame

When you compare this season to last, Notre Dame is having a down year. Still, they are 6-2 with four games to go. Early on, this year’s Irish team had a problem finding their own identity. They lost the core of their leadership group to graduation, and new leaders weren’t ready to step up and assume the responsibility. The other thing that goes unmentioned is they are 6-2 playing with their backup quarterback. Tommy Rees, while having a good season, was not the starter. The Irish lost starter Everett Golson for the semester due to academic suspension. Without Golson the Irish lose at least 25 – 35% of what they could normally do on offense. Because of Golson’s athleticism, he gave the Irish a weapon that they just don’t have with Rees. With Rees playing QB, the offense is much more predictable. The fact that they are 6-2 without Golson is a testament to Brian Kelly and the rest of the Notre Dame coaching staff.

Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs

This has been the big story of the first half of the NFL season. Reid, who the Philadelphia brain trust felt couldn’t coach anymore, has done a remarkable job reinventing himself in Kansas City. Kansas City had a talented roster, they lacked a quarterback and leadership form the coaching staff and front office. Reid and GM John Dorsey were able to acquire Alex Smith to give them consistent QB play, and the team, on both sides of the ball, is playing with confidence and the physicality needed to win a Division title. They still have to play Denver twice in the second half of the season, but I feel a playoff spot is just about locked up. A year ago, they had the worst record in the NFL. Now, they have the best. Andy should be a lock for “Coach of the Year”.

Tampa Bay

Greg Schiano’s struggles in Tampa Bay won’t get much sympathy from members of the NFL scouting community. When Schiano was Head Coach at Rutgers, he would often make scouts watch practice from a small area at least 30 yards from the practice field. To make matters worse, a scout was lucky if he got to watch practice for more than about 10 minutes. It made evaluating players very difficult.

Tampa Bay is obviously going to make changes in the coaching staff and front office. Whether or not it’s in the near future or after the season remains to be seen. In my opinion, the best person to get Tampa Bay on track is living just a few miles from the Buccaneers offices. Former Bears' General Manager Jerry Angelo lives in the Tampa area. Having worked for the Bucs before he went to Chicago, Angelo knows the Tampa Bay ownership and fan base, which gives him an advantage over any other candidate. Angelo has experience in a similar type situation. When he came to Chicago, the Bears were horrible. He’s had experience dealing with a group of overpaid, underachieving players. Most importantly, he has experience running a team and winning without a franchise type quarterback. The Bears won two division titles and got to a Super Bowl with Rex Grossman as the quarterback. There will be other candidates, and we will cover them in a later post, but Angelo is absolutely the right person to turn that situation around.

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