Hyundai Sun Bowl
Miami (FL) (7-5) vs. Notre Dame (7-5)
Terrelle Pryor isn’t ready for the NFL. He’s not ready for the mental training or the physical pounding he’ll experience week-after-week in a 16 game (maybe more) NFL season. What Pryor also won’t be prepared for: A five game suspension to begin his senior season. The same senior season that was suppose to get him ready for the mental and physical hardships of the NFL.
As it’s already known, and argued, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor (left) will miss the first five games of the 2011 season for selling his own bowl rings, game paraphernalia and as ironic as it sounds, his Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award.
Pryor won’t be alone though; he’ll be joined by running back Dan “Boom” Herron, wideout DeVier Posey, offensive lineman Mike Adams and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, who received money and free benefits, including tattoos for their autographs and game worn products. A sixth player, linebacker Jordan Whiting, will have to sit just the first game of the 2011 season.
The amazing part about all of the suspensions is that they don’t take place until the 2011 season, skipping the teams Sugar Bowl appearance against Arkansas. It’s a whole different article dipping into the fact that the NCAA skipped the Sugar Bowl all-together, though. It’s also a whole other article dipping into how much money the five make for OSU.
The OSU five are now faced with a decision. All are junior’s who are eligible to declare for the 2011 NFL Draft in April. So do they declare, or do they stay?
It’s a tough decision to make for any underclassmen to forgo their senior season; it’s an even tougher one to make when your draft projection says stay in school. But staying in school may not help, having to sit nearly half the season, in some of your teams’ biggest games.
If the players stay, they’ll miss games against Akron and Toledo to begin the season (two stat-padding games to get them into grove), then they’ll miss a trip to Miami (FL) and Colorado and Michigan State at home .Three pivotal games to the Ohio State season and themselves moving forward as football players. The return game would come against Nebraska, not an easy game to start the year or to make a first impression on NFL scouts.
If they leave, four of the five will get drafted, but not where they would have or potentially should be. Thomas sits with the most to lose if he declares. The other four would get drafted, though. But that’s if there even is a draft. The NFL labor agreements are yet to pass through with owner’s signatures and a 2011 NFL season isn’t guaranteed. The owners have until March 4 to get the labor issue resolved, but players must declare for the NFL Draft far before then, with a deadline of January 18.
Although OSU fans would hate to see four of their best skilled players leave (below), I think the decision to bolt is an easy one. Pryor, Herron, Posey and Adams aren’t going to get a whole lot better watching from the sidelines. They all might even look worse entering the season halfway through while their opponents have five games with real game speed under their belt. The potential of an injury is always there as well, and may be even more so entering the season at its midpoint.
Pryor wouldn’t like where he would end up getting drafted. With the potential of quarterbacks Ryan Mallett of Arkansas, Andrew Luck of Stanford and Cameron Newton of Auburn declaring for the draft, the position Pryor falls to deepens. Add in Washington senior Jake Locker to the mix, and he’s fallen potentially out of even the second round. The worry is he’s not yet ready for mental aspect of reading NFL defenses, which may be true. The class Pryor falls into is with Florida State’s Christian Ponder, Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor, and Delaware’s Pat Devlin, into the third-to-fourth round mix.
For Posey and Herron, things might be better than Pryor’s situation. Posey could work his way into the second round because of the physical attributes he brings to the field and the array of wideouts who could not declare for the draft or if all bring in first round paychecks. Herron sits in the middle of the pack as far as available running backs. With over 1,000 yards on the season, Herron would most likely find a grade ranging from early third-to-fourth round.
For Adams, who started all but one game for the Bucks, a third-to-fifth round grade would most likely be the result. At 6-foot-8 310 pounds, Adams may intrigue scouts with his sheer size and potential in the league, improving his grade. As for Solomon, who isn’t a starter for OSU, what little games he could play in, in 2011, would help his future draft status.
They all may not be the grades they want to hear, but I can’t see playing in potentially just seven games in their senior years really helping them out. The NFL pay I hear, however, is better than having to turn to selling your jersey and bowl rings for money.
The fact of the matter is they’ll be able to start making some money for themselves, rather than just Ohio State.
Pryor Photo Credit: Doug Lesmerises - The Plain Dealer
Along the winding road to college football success, a modest mid-west conference, with a tradition of coaching greats, has turned into the crossroads of the modern day coaching search.
The Mid American Conference (MAC), is exactly like its name implies; the middle of America. It also happens to be the middle grounds to American success, though. Dug into the heart of mid-western America, from Illinois to New York, and up to Michigan, the MAC holds a heavy list of starting places for some of college football’s greatest leaders in the history of the game.
Notre Dame’s Ara Parseghian, Michigan’s Bo Schembechler (left) and Ohio State’s Woody Hayes all once called the MAC home before their coaching greatness began at their respective universities. All three, incidentally, came from MAC school Miami of Ohio.
The current list of coaching greats surrounding FBS college football programs reads as impressive as the conferences’ coaching history does. Before Urban Meyer built Utah and won two national championships with Florida, he roamed the sidelines of Bowling Green. Before Brian Kelly led Cincinnati to two straight BCS Bowls, then accepted his dream job at Notre Dame, he built a dormant Central Michigan program. Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel led a Toledo team to four conference championship appearances, and a near undefeated season in 1995.
MAC ties can be found all over college football, with others who propelled themselves into larger positions that include Alabama’s Nick Saban, Ohio State’s Jim Tressell, Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, Kansas’ Turner Gill, Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe, and Cincinnati’s Butch Jones.
The conference, whose coaches are some of the most under-paid in college football, produces some of the hungriest coaching prospects around. So it shouldn’t really come as a surprise when three of the biggest coaching vacancies in college football – Minnesota, Miami (FL), and Pittsburgh – came about at the end of the 2010 season, the MAC turned out to be one of the first places searched. In result, the MAC was the location of their programs future leaders.
Minnesota struck first, nabbing Northern Illinois head man Jerry Kill, who built up a Southern Illinois program before his three year stint at Northern Illinois. He then led the Huskies to a 10-3 record and MAC Championship appearance in 2010. Not bad for a team that went 2-10 in 2007, the year before Kill became the programs head coach.
Pittsburgh, whose head coach Dave Wannstedt, stepped down after six seasons, made a quick move to hire Miami of Ohio’s Michael Haywood (right). Haywood seemed like an unlikely candidate after a 2009 1-11 first season with the Redhawks. But he led Miami to a 9-4 record and MAC Championship this season. It was clear, following a 2-10 record in 2008 before Haywood arrived, the program just didn’t have the talent or the amount of coaching it needed in 2009.
Temple head coach Al Golden became Miami’s choice after a two week search that many believed would bring in a coach with a name to fit the programs heavy bill. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden was rumored, so was former Auburn coach and current Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen. In the end, however, the Hurricanes settled on the little known Golden. The 41 year old and former Penn State tight end, built up a Temple program from 0-11 the year before he arrived, to seasons of 9-4 in 2009 and 8-4 this season. The Owls 2009 bowl appearance was just their third in the programs history, and first since 1979.
All three coaches struck fans, program personnel and boosters the wrong way at the time of the hiring, but after school press conferences and familiarity with the three, everyone became aware of the hunger and drive in Kill, Haywood and Golden, much like that seen in the MAC’s history of coaching greats.
Whether or not the success of the past coaches from the MAC will follow the three who left the conference this season, remains to be seen. The tools are in place, and the desire to bring excellence back to their current storied programs is there, however.
History implies the three are likely to uncover success. Somewhere in a tiny midwest town, though, with a school too big for its boots, there lays another coach waiting in the crossroads of college football’s coaching carousel.