Ohio State coach Fickell has failed his team.

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 The win yesterday by the Buckeyes against Wisconsin was not amazing. It was not even too surprising that freshman QB Miller brought the team back from a 29-26 deficit against a top 25 team. It was an indication that the young QB had developed into a playmaker. Miller winked at his coach indicating that despite the deficit and the limited time on the clock, he was confident he could bring the team back. It is not bragging if you can do it. But that brings us to a very perplexing question.

What would have happened if Miller had been named the QB to start the season? Miller has blossomed in his stint as the starter. He has developed much more quickly than anyone could have guessed. Most likely Miller would have developed in time to have won against Miami. But newbie HC Fickell chose to give the practice snaps to his choice the 5th year senior instead. The problem is that young man is an outstanding guy but is not capable of playing QB at the major college level. No one can guess why Coach made that decision. But there are a couple things we know for a fact did not impact his decision.

1. Was it in the long term interest of the program to start a senior? No. In fact, the long term interests of the program would have been served much better if the young man with 4 years of eligibility had been allowed to get both the practice snaps of a starter and the experience of playing in the Shoe against some lesser teams PRIOR to taking on a major school on their field.

2. Was there a significant difference in experience between the freshman and the senior? No. The senior had very little game experience. The senior had thrown a grand total of 47 passes in his 3 years on the roster. Miller was part of the team in the Spring so that he could participate in spring practices. Except for the practice snaps allocated by the coach, neither player had a major edge in experience.

3. Was there an indication that the senior would be more successful than the freshman? No. As a matter of fact any pee-wee coach should have been able to tell in the first practice that Miller had much more upside and very little downside in both the short and long term.

4. Would the “locker room” have reacted negatively to a freshman being picked over a senior? No. My experience with several levels of football indicates to me that the guys that give their sweat to the team want the best chance to win. When a coach chooses to start a guy that hurts their chances to win, that coach is in danger of losing the locker room. Once that happens, it is impossible to get it back. Players at this level of college know by the end of the first practice in pads who can play and who can coach. There is no fooling the locker room. The OSU players have gotten behind Miller very quickly because he gives them everything he has and gives them the best chance to win.

The result was not only a miserable start to the season that included 3 losses and an offense so inept it scored a total of 13 points in two of those defeats.

So why did the coach decide to go with the senior? I don’t know and will not speculate. Let me leave it at this. Fickell is the interim coach. Anyone would love to have this job because it is one of the best in the country. I hope he made his decision based on his true feeling about what was in the best interest of the team and the program.

That’s what I think. What do you think?

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. He edits .

A different view of Stanford QB Luck’s decision and the “Cutlering” of Miami coach Spirano.

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There has been a lot of talk about why Andrew Luck and his golden arm will stay at Stanford for another year when every NFL draft analyst agrees he would be the #1 selection in the 2011 draft.

Some believe that he just really likes the college life style.

Some think he wants to work a little more on his game. He is a redshirt sophomore and has 2 more years of eligibility. He has only started 2 years for the Cardinals.

I have no idea why he decided to stay but it raises a HUGE red flag to me.

I have serious doubts about how important his NFL career is to Luck. If I was the owner of the Carolina Panthers, I would not want to spend 50 million dollars on a guy that may or may not be committed to the game and the team. Payton Manning went back for a final year at Tennessee but it was clear that his goal was to beat the Gators for once in his career.

This will be the last draft in which the first pick will get 50+ million dollars guaranteed. As soon as there is a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, a rookie salary scale similar to that of the NBA will be in place. The first pick will get something closer to 25 million. Both the owners and NFLPA Ex. Dir. Smith want the extra money to go to the vets not rookies.

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Miami Owner Ross “Cutlered” head coach Tony Sparano.

When he took over the HC job, ex-Bronco McDaniels had a pro bowl QB in Cutler. But that was not good enough for him. The grass is always…you get the idea.

McD wanted “his” QB Matt Cassel, the reserve QB that McD tutored when all world Tom Brady was out for the year. McD thought he could negotiate a trade with the Pats without anyone knowing. It got out and when the Chiefs got Cassel, Cutler demanded to be traded.

That is the exact same thing that the Dolphins Owner Ross did to his HC Sparano. There had been a lot of talk about the coach being fired but Ross said nothing. At the end of the season, Ross said that he would keep Sparano. But then there was that REALLY green grass.

When Stanford coach Harbaugh’s people agreed to a meeting with Ross, he jumped at it. Ross reportedly offered Harbaugh 7 million a year. When the flavor of the month refused to take the job, Ross had a problem.

Today he wanted to have a make up press conference announcing a year extension contract with Sparano. The only problem was that Sparano didn’t show up. This is a receipt for disaster. Look for the Dolphins to be in the running for the 2012 1st draft pick when the locker room divides.

Ross should be fined for interviewing and offering a contract to a coach when they had one on the staff at the time. If that is not a rules violation, it should be. At any rate, not only will the fish likely dive in 2011 but Ross will have even more trouble finding a coach that will take the job because of his Cutlering Sparano.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. He edits . Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear his sports show Monday-Friday 5-9 EST on http://www.cleveland.com/dsn/index.ssf/2010/11/dsn_video_live_stream.html

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LeBron could win MVP and Coach of the Year!

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Cavs

One theory of management is “the level of competence.” That theory says that an organization will promote people based on their ability to do their current job. But at some point they become no longer “promotable” because they are no longer doing an outstanding job. They are in a job one level above their level of competence. Those people should be demoted back to a job that they do well but they almost never are.

I see the Cav’s coach Brown as just such a case. From all reports Brown was a more than competent as associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers and as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. But he is in my opinion not even close to being competent as head coach.

Science tells us that nature abhors a vacuum. Because Brown is incompetent as head coach there is a power vacuum that out of necessity LeBron James has been forced to fill. As good as James is, it is very difficult to get an overview of the game from the court. He is so focused on doing his job that he is not able to see that the offensive flow of the team is sporadic at best and nonexistent at times.

The lack of competence of Brown has been highlighted by his inability to deal with the changes in the roster from the trades and returning players from injury. In a recent interview he admitted he was struggling to re-integrate Williams into the offense. He seems to have no clue how to integrate Jamison into the offense and what is worse, has not even tried to do it. Brown puts guys on the floor and lets James figure out how to use them.

Mike, here are a few things you might try to see in the tapes of recent games.

1. The offense runs very smoothly when it goes through LeBron and a big man. It doesn’t seem to matter if that is Shaq or Jamison because both are more than capable of scoring or dishing the ball to an open player. That will also save James’ energy and make him more effective later in the game.

2. The Brown O seems to be 4 guys watching LeBron take on the 5 opponents. Both he and Brown need to trust the other guys on the team. This is not the 04-05 team with guys like Drew Gooden, Jeff McInnis, Ira Newble and Robert Traylor around James. We have a team that has veteran starting quality scorers. Both James and Brown need to trust them particularly in the last few minutes of a game. In the 3 game losing streak the Cavs O in the last few minutes was 1 on 5 LeBron against the world.

3. It was nice to see Jamison starting. He has to start with Varejao being the 1st off the bench at PF. Hickson is a great kid but he has to be the 3rd option at that position. It will reduce his minutes but that is the way it needs to be to have this team be competitive against the top teams in the league.

There should be no doubt that this team is the most prepared to compete for a championship that the Cavs have ever had. Mike, get your head out of your hind quarters and start coaching. If you can’t figure out how to get all these stars into the O, find someone that can and let them do it. LeBron has enough on his plate.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morningS at 11 EST. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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Around the NFL for Wile Card week.

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nfl

The Coaching carousel spins.

Redskins—Zorn is gone. Former Denver coach Shanahan is in and has total power. See there is not a “no win” policy in Washington. Shanahan is smart and will get a lot more out of the talent that is there. The biggest problems with the Redskins are the O line and QB. The D is solid but has suffered because it has been on the field nearly 40 minutes a game. Shanahan will get the running game going and will move on from QB Campbell soup can.

Browns—Mangenous is still there. Browns Pres. Holmgren announced today that Mangini and his minions will be given one more season. Most observers had hoped that the team would at least demote or fire OC Daboll because he was clearly over his head in that spot. Holmgren is an offensive coach and all the Browns fans can hope is that the he will be puppet master calling the shots for the O.

There are a couple of things going on here that made that decision reasonable. First, there is a 75% chance that there will be no NFL football in 2011. For all the reasons I have published here months ago, there will be no agreement in time to prevent an uncapped year in 2010 and little chance that the two sides will agree to a deal before the drop dead date early in 2011.

The second reason is that I believe the rumors that have Jon “Chuckie” Gruden joining the team after football returns as head coach of the Browns. I would love that combination. I believe it would finally turn the team around. Both Holmgren and Gruden realize what a big job this is going to be. But both thrive in turn around jobs.

Steelers—The staff of coach Tomlin is paying the price for the team not making the playoffs. OL coach Zierlein and not so special teams coach Ligashesky have been fired. This is a move to take some heat off the HC chair. If the team comes around next season, Tomlin will keep his job. If not he will be the next one to get the pink slip out of Steel town.

Giants—O line coach Waufle was fired yesterday. The O line was one of the best in the league in 08 but disintegrated in 09. It caused QB Manning to run for his life on almost every play. The way the team rolled over and died late in the season, the O line is not the only problem. Look for more changes in the Big Apple.

Bears—The Bears fired OL Luke Butkus and quality control/wr assistant coach London. The problem on the O line was age not coaching. OT Williams was the only top 3 round pick in the last 6 years for the team. C Kreutz is a year past serviceable, Gs Garza and Omiyale are “never was” guys that are below starting quality and RT Shaffer is a journeyman. The WR problem is lack of WRs. The combination of Bennett, Davis and Hester don’t equal one #1 NFL quality guy.

Chiefs—Kansas City is trying to become “Patriots West.” As I have written before the only way that coach Haley saved his job was to bring experienced coordinators in like training wheels on a bike. Former ND and Pat OC Weis has been named OC. Look for current DC Pendergast to be the next causality. There are rumors that ex-Brown coach Crennel will be named DC. That might give Haley enough experience on his staff to make up for his lack of it.

The INs and the OUTs.

INs

Jets—The Jets got REALLY lucky being scheduled in their last 2 games against two teams that had already clinched their playoff position. The Jets won those games and they are in. They are playing a little better than they were earlier in the year but you can’t go far with a rookie QB at the helm unless you come from Pittsburg.

Ravens—The Birds won the games they were supposed to win to get WC spot. They are matched up against the Pats and that should be a great game.

Cowboys—Who says threats don’t work to motivate players and coaches? JJ threatened to blow up the team and start over if they missed the playoffs and the team responded. They beat the Eagles easily to win the NFC East. Let’s see how far they go. They will meet the Birds again in the Wild Card round.

Packers—The Pack beat the Cards easily and that will be the Wild Card game. The Cards rested a number of players that were nicked up. They will play this weekend.

The OUTS

Broncos—After a 6-0 start, the team disintegrated going 2-8 and failed to make the playoffs. It was only the 2nd team since the playoffs were expanded to 12 team to go 6-0 and not make the big dance. The problem is the head coach. He ticked off his all pro QB Cutler so badly that he was forced to trade him. Then he benched his all pro WR Marshall twice losing all those games. McD is not qualified to be head coach of a peewee team.

Texans—This team is just not talented enough to be much over .500. They have had some good drafts in the early picks but not enough guys contributing from the middle and late rounds to get over the hump.

Dolphins—One of my readers asked why I didn’t talk more about the Dolphins. Here you are. The Fish amazed everyone in 2008 going from the 1st overall draft pick to the AFC East championship. This year they were scheduled against other playoff teams and that and key injuries to their QB and RB proved to be too much to get to the playoffs for a 2nd year in a row. They are a really good team that has found their QB of the future in Henne.

Steelers—A Steeler team that can’t run the ball won’t make the playoffs. They are going to have to solve the O line problems to both protect the QB and create holes for the RBs. Their D missed Polamalu most of the season. The D has become far too dependent on him to correct mistakes that the other players make.

Giants—A combination of injuries and guys getting old in a hurry killed their chances for the playoffs. This team will be reworked in a big way in the off season.

Falcons—This team was another surprise in 08 that failed to make the dance in 09. They are getting better but had a lot of injuries that hurt its chances of making the post season.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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Some Christmas wishes in the Sports world.

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Cowboy Coach Phillips—Some wins after Turkey Day. The Boys haven’t done very well in December. JJ told the Boys faithful that if Phillips doesn’t win in the playoffs, he will be history. Phillips needs some help selling his house ’cause that ain’t happening.

Browns coach Mangenous—One more really silly owner to bail his career out again. Holmgren is “Football Czar of the Month” in Cleveland. There is little chance that Mangini will keep his job past 4:01 PM Sunday January 3. He got the current gig just after getting fired in New York. He needs another very gullible owner.

Buc Coach Morris—A copy of The Idiot’s Guide to Pro Football. Morris is badly over his head in Tampa. He was not even qualified to be OC let alone HC. With the team 1-forever, he needs to learn the game a lot more quickly to keep his job for next year.

Saints’ DC Greg Williams—A head coaching job in the NFL. Williams never got a decent shot in Buffalo and has proven with both the Redskins and Saints that he is ready for a top job. With the number of teams that will be looking for new top guys after this year, he should get a chance.

Former Browns’ Coach Crennel—Renewal of the Coors beer commercials because he isn’t likely to get another job in the NFL. Crennel is too nice a guy to be effective as a head man. He has only had success only in a highly disciplined situation. He needs the commercials because he needs work even though he is still being paid by the Browns.

Ex ND Coach Weis—A Christmas Card from Holmgren. Weis’ best shot at an OC spot is with the Browns to help QB Quinn develop. They were very close in ND and if anyone can turn Quinn’s career around, Weis believes he is the one.

Ohio State Coach Tressel—A win in the Rose Bowl. The Big 10 has a bad record in bowl games with OSU at the bottom of the list. Having suspended several players, his chances are less this year than most. Another couple of losses in the post season and Tress may find out that beating Michigan may not be enough to keep his job.

Florida Football Coach Urban Meyer—A Tebow clone at QB. After winning 2 BcS Championships in 4 years, Florida will likely take a step back next season. They lose their star QB and most of the D this year. Given the development of the Bama team as well as a couple of other SEC teams, it will be very hard for them to get back to the national championship game.

For College Football fans everywhere–A real playoff.  We will not get a playoff until the big contributors to college programs tell the pinhead presidents “NO MORE MONEY UNTIL YOU SUPPORT A REAL PLAYOFF!” If you wonder what it will take, follow the money.

The Chicago Cubs—Some pitching and a shot at the World Series. It’s been over 100 years since Cubbie fans had a chance to say something other than “wait ’til next year.” Enough of that, let’s see some playoff baseball.

Cleveland Cavs–Some of the magic from last year but in the 2010 playoffs.  O’Neil has been OK but the team has not come together like they did last year.  They need to regain the chemistry they had last year but extend that in the playoffs.

Most of all—A very Merry Christmas to all of you. Thank you for taking the time to read this site. If you have any suggestions for more gifts for sports teams, let me know.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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What did we learn in week 3?

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football

QB News:

Miami: QB Chad Pennington is likely out for the season. According to ESPN, he suffered a torn capsule in his shoulder. He is getting a second opinion. I hope he can recover from the injury. He has always had the head of a coach, the heart of a lion and the arm of a chicken. But he is a perfect QB for the Dolphin O. Former 2nd round pick Chad Henne from Michigan will start for the time being.

St. Louis: QB Mark Bulger has a rotator cuff injury. He will miss significant time.

Tampa Bay: Coach Morris announced that Josh Johnson will be the starter replacing Byron Leftwich who will be the #3 QB behind rookie Josh Freeman.

Cleveland: Brady Quinn was replaced by Derek Anderson to start the second half. As usual, no information has been made public about who will start next week against the Bengals. He will announce his latest victim on Wednesday.

Quinn has shown nothing in 2+ games. Anderson moved the ball much better in the 2nd half but threw 3 picks. In my opinion, Mangenus will select Anderson but he should stick with Quinn. We all know that Anderson is not going to get this team back to respectability. Let the kid play. The team is not going anywhere this year anyway. I will have a lot more to say about the Browns Wednesday on NFLDraftDog.com

Teams that are in some trouble:

Dolphins – The team was not going to repeat as division champion anyway. But they are 0-3 and Pennington is hurt. They will not make the playoffs.

Browns – They may get the #1 draft choice overall but Mangini will trade it for a bag of balls.

Titans – This team will recover. They are much better than both the Jags and the Texans. But at 0-3 the playoffs are in question.

Chiefs – Who cares?

Redskins – What do you expect when you have a bad QB and a rookie O Coordinator?

Bucs – This is the worst team in the NFC and that is saying a lot.

Cowboys – If the Boys don’t win tonight Jerry Jones is going to have to fire his coach before the end of the season—the sooner the better.

Panthers – The QB problem is going to keep the team from getting better. Matt Moore is their backup! Good planning guys.

Seahawks – Starter Matt Hasselbeck is out and backup Seneca Wallace is in. That is trouble for the team that is already 1-2. The only thing they have in their favor is the fact that the St. Louis Lambs are in their division.

Lambs – The Lambs are going to fight the Browns for the 1st pick overall. They have less talent but perhaps are better off in the locker room.

We will look at the College game and NFL teams going in the right direction later in the week.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Dolphins,Browns,Rams,Buccaneers,Titans,Chiefs,Redskins,Cowboys,Panthers,Pennington,Bulger,Quinn,Anderson,NFLDraftDog,Seahawks,Hasselbeck,NFL,nfl draft

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