News, Notes & Quotes - Dec. 29

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday December 29, 2016


- Randy Edsall knows he has a lot of apologies to make at UConn, it was even addressed in the press release.

Edsall’s abrupt departure for the Maryland job in 2011 without saying goodbye to his UConn players upset a lot of people. The team found out in text messages the day after the Fiesta Bowl. It was one of the first reactions when the school announced Edsall will returned, and they addressed it in the press release.

“Certainly as I look back on it, I wish I had done things differently in that instance,” Edsall said. “I completely understand and respect that there are loyal fans, supporters and former players that still have not forgotten and it will take time to forgive.

“I have many incredible memories of my time at UConn and I hope the fans do too. It is my goal to get us back to that level of success and I hope that all of the Husky fans out there will be along for the ride.”

Edsall will be introduced at a press conference on Friday, and you can be sure he’ll be asked about that messy departure multiple times.

- The biggest takeaway from Nick Saban that Lane Kiffin will take to FAU is what The Process really means.

“It really is about how Coach never changes. Every day is the same,” Kiffin said. “I think as a young head coach, looking back, you had so many highs and lows. So you win a big game, team plays really well. Maybe you don't come back on that Sunday and push the staff the same way. Maybe on that Monday's practice, you don't push the players the same way because you start to say, ‘Wait a second. We got this made. We're 5-0. And maybe we don't need to practice quite as hard because what if we get somebody hurt.’

“I think probably the No. 1 thing, would be the process never changes. It's the same. 7:30 staff meeting this morning. Coach goes over the practice today and says each five minutes what we're doing in practice. You don't have to write it down because it's the exact same as every Wednesday's practice for three years. … He said to me before, ‘Lane, I can take good news, I can take bad news, but don't give me surprises.’ So I think that really explains a lot of the process."

- Luke Fickell says Ohio State analyst and former NFL defensive coordinator Billy Davis will fit right into a full-time role.

“Billy's been around all year. He's had the opportunity to get to know those guys,” Fickell said. “He's seen our culture, how we do things. It's not like he's new to the game with all of his experience. The only thing he'll have to adapt to is recruiting.

"Football-wise, he's going to fit right in. The ability to get to know those guys, build the trust in a year around them, it makes an incredible transition. And he's walking into a group of kids who are unbelievable. I don't just mean that as football players, I mean that as people. They're gonna accept somebody and teach them some of their ways."

- Kyle Whittingham’s impressive bowl record is… a record.

With Wednesday’s win over Indiana, Whittingham is 10-1 in bowls, the best win percentage in bowls of any coach. As noted by ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura, Utah has 10 bowl wins since 2004, and Notre Dame has 10 since 1979.

Those wins have been over Pitt (as interim HC), Georgia Tech, Tulsa, Navy, Alabama, Cal, Georgia Tech again, Colorado State, BYU and Indiana. The loss was to Chris Petersen and Boise State in the 2010 Las Vegas Bowl.

- Pat Fitzgerald says the difference between last year’s bowl loss and this year’s win was mindset.

A year ago, the Wildcats entered the Outback Bowl at 10-2 and lost 45-6 to Tennessee. On Wednesday, they entered the Pinstripe Bowl at 6-6 and beat Pitt 31-24.

“Between the last game last year and our bowl experience, I think we lost our edge. I think we hardened our edge during this bowl prep,” Fitzgerald said. “No. 1, our guys bought into the game plan. They bought into the way we were going to practice and prepare. It was not easy, either in Evanston or when we came down here.

“The guys embraced that. We got better and we really improved. Then I think when we got to the game today, we had some guys make some big plays.”

- West Virginia lost 31-14 to Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl, but Dana Holgorsen got tired of negative questions.

The Mountaineers went 10-3. That’s a success to him. After questions about what went wrong in the game, he was asked about the context of the season.

“It’s a positive question. I’m tired of these negative questions,” he said. “We got beat by a good football team. I’m not going to allow it to be negative. Look, there’s 21 seniors in there, and their legacy is this is the best team West Virginia’s had in five years in the Big 12. A lot to be proud of. Ten wins, it doesn’t happen very often. We’re disappointed we didn’t get to 11, our fanbase is disappointed, our coaches are disappointed, but we’re going to hang our heads high and understand we had a fantastic football season.”

Holgorsen received a new 5-year contract in early December that will pay him an average of $3.7 million per year.

- Michigan tight end Jake Butt criticized the NCAA for some of its violations rules and enforcement.

“I don't think the answer is penalizing coaches," Butt said, per 247Sports. "There's really no clear answer to anything. The way I always look at it is, if Billy Bob walks down the street and goes to Chipotle, their friend's the manager and gets a free Chipotle burrito, and then if one of us walks into Chipotle, we can't accept that burrito. The way the NCAA looks at it — we have enough compliance meetings — the way that I understand it is that every friend we make is because we're a football player.

“They said we can't even go out to dinner with our girlfriend's parents. Our girlfriend's parents can't take us out to dinner, because who knows. There's so much that goes into it. I don't know. There's no clear answer.”

- Check out Jason Garrett’s locker room speech after Monday night’s win over the Lions.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.