Welcome to the silly season

scrapWe thought we’d escaped it, or at least gotten off easily as Erik Slaughter’s exit was tidily repaired by the addition of Damon Cogdell, but yesterday proved one thing once again …

Let me fill this layover by going over a few things, beginning with the Twitter activities of Dana Holgorsen, who he’s following and why.

- Even the cynic in me has to pay a little attention to this sequence of events: Keith Patterson leaves WVU, Dana Holgorsen follows Tommy Bradley on Twitter.

It makes sense, and I hope by now you know how I feel about coincidences and whether they exist.

That said, don’t get your hopes up and don’t begin to attempt to reconcile whatever issues you have with Bradley being at Penn State when Penn State happened.

It is almost certainly not going to happen. I haven’t spoken to anyone who thinks there’s anything to it. I’ve spoken to people who said Bradley has let anyone know who has inquired that he’s content doing what he’s doing now and isn’t interested in coaching.

I will hedge just a little — “almost certainly” — because just because, but because perhaps Bradley one day wants to get back into the business. But we’re not exactly early in the offseason, and before it began Bradley flew his flag. I doubt very much his feelings have changed.

- Holgorsen also followed Zac Spavital on Twitter, and I guess this is a thing now. Like FlightAware.com. People, and especially coaches, do communicate through direct messages. I kind of secretly hope this is subterfuge by Holgorsen and he’s wagging the dog here. What if he follows Jeff Casteel tomorrow? Or Buddy Ryan? I wholeheartedly endorse this, if not to throw people off his scent, than to make my timeline extraordinarily extraordinary.

- Here’s the thing about Tony Gibson and his candidacy. I would call him “a” leading candidate, as opposed to “the” leading candidate. He’s the in-house leader, but Dana, in all likelihood, has to go out and hire someone just to complete his staff (I hedge here because he has graduate assistants and Steve Dunlap and, really, would anything truly surprise you?).

It’s been a day since Patterson left. There’s going to be interest at various levels and that takes time to discover or generate and to vet. It’s not impossible that a home run hitter comes forward that’s either on another staff or a free agent. So to people who say, “Why not announce Gibby now?” there’s your answer. A better option might be out there — and WVU was paying Patterson $500,000 — but it would appear WVU is at least of the mind that Gibby isn’t a bad option and is thus a leading candidate.

- I don’t get the feeling promoting Gibby is a universally popular idea. Here are his selling points, purely from a coaching standpoint: He and Patterson spoke the same language. Dana hired and later promoted Patterson because Patterson ran the defense Dana wanted to run in the Big 12. Dana later hired Gibby partly because Patterson liked working with Gibby and because the head coach and defensive coordinator knew there’d be one more voice in the meeting room who knew what to say and what was being said. So now, pretty close to the start of spring football, Dana has a chance to foster some continuity and boost the guy who talks and thinks most like the guy who just left.

Now, the negatives? There is a doubt about whether Gibby can, you know, coach. Never mind coordinate. That’s been around ever since his first spell at WVU. Here’s what I can tell you about that: Since he left WVU, he’s worked for Scott Shafer, Greg Robinson, Keith Patterson (and Todd Graham) and Jeff Casteel. That’s not bad. I have a hard, hard time believing Gibby hasn’t learned from those people and become a better coach in the past six years.

Can he coach and coordinate? I guess we might find out once and for all.

- Patterson is the defensive coordinator, the linebackers coach and the defensive special teams coach at Arizona State. I have to think that’s a relief for Holgorsen. He didn’t lose his defensive coordinator to be a position coach. So today, with questions answered, Patterson moved to run a the defense for an up-and-coming Pac-12 program to work with a guy he’s known for 20 years and has worked with three times before. That’s a better look for WVU than it was yesterday.

- Here’s something someone reminded me of, and though it may mean nothing, it’s nevertheless interesting. Patterson was Pitt’s interim coach for the bowl game after Graham left for ASU. He didn’t go with Graham and Graham filled his staff. Patterson landed at Arkansas State on Gus Malzahn’s staff, reuniting again with an old friend (they were together at Tulsa in 2007-08 and Patterson was smitten with Malzahn and the things he could do and Patterson knew he was on the way up). Dana then talked Patterson into coming to WVU before he ever really got to work at Arkansas State. Malzahn, of course, spent one season at Arkansas State, moved on to Auburn and nearly won a national title last season. You do have to wonder if that sort of thing affects Patterson and his career-oriented thinking.

- Some of the people I’ve talked to were at or know of the AFCA convention late last month. Dana was there, I think, for one day, and the feeling a lot of people had was that WVU at last had everyone going in the right direction. A few people, though, suspected Patterson was coveted by ASU. It seems what happened yesterday was not a surprise and was pushed behind signing day for obvious reasons.

- Who does Dana want to hire? We don’t know that. We do know what he wants to hire. What I gather is the hire will be a defensive line coach, which would make Cogdell a linebackers coach, which makes sense. That said, who knows? Cogdell could coach the defensive line, and he had been telling recruits that. But maybe he didn’t know about Patterson leaving, or wasn’t allowed to tell, and it was otherwise known Patterson would leave and Cogdell would coach linebackers. But maybe he was being honest. Then WVU hires a linebackers coach.

Anyhow, ideally, the person has experience in the Big 12, or at least at a place accustom to the offenses WVU will confront in the Big 12. Truth be told, that’s pretty broad these days, so I don’t automatically believe the person has to have Big 12 roots.

Not a lot of certainty there, huh? But I really don’t get the feeling the hire has to have a strong tie, or a tie at all, to WVU or the state. It’s a bonus, for sure, but not a necessity.

- Chuck McGill did a nice job today explaining why that may be the case.

pnocker 40 said:

Maybe defensive coordinator is one of those “special assignments” for Mike Parsons

Look, I’m not going to lie to you. I’ll probably steal that one for conversation. I’m in the U.S. Air lounge in Charlotte and have already stolen the pilot story from “Good Will Hunting.” Got 90 minutes before we board, too.

- That was a red LFC team jacket. Red. Jerks.

The 25314 said:

For the “WVU will never be great” crowd, look at Stanford.

They had only 7 winning years in 28 seasons, from 1981-2008. When Jim Harbaugh arrived, he was their 4th head coach in 7 seasons. Stanford was a Pac-10 doormat, and never brought in top 25 classes.

They’ve now been to four straight BCS bowl games and have top 25 classes every season. And that’s with the high academic standards at Stanford, which Duke and Notre Dame would want you to believe are prohibitive of winning.

If Stanford, who was a laughing stock of football just 7 years ago, can become a power with the right coach, anyone can.

Yeah, deep breaths, folks. There are too many people who are really good at football these days to get down and stay down.

- Finally, I’m going to miss the hell out of of Patterson. Long story short, when Holgorsen was hired, I became very aware I had to learn about Xs and Ox and football theory and philosophy and the like because I knew I’d have to speak the language of the staff. But that was on offense because WVU’s defensive coaches, led by Jeff Casteel, were extremely reluctant to talk about things.

Patterson forced me to lean about defense because he sincerely wanted to talk to us. Allan Taylor, Jed Drenning and I must have spent hours with Patterson after games or practices or interview sessions when Patterson just wouldn’t leave and wanted to ask and to answer questions and just talk football. That does not happen. Farewell, Keith.

20 Responses to “Welcome to the silly season”

  1. PhilWVUNJ says:

    Bruce Tall? Putting the band back together? Will he coach safeties? DL?

  2. Parks says:

    Oh, how I love silly season. Absolutely love it!!

    no sarcasm this time either. I really do. I really, really dooo-ooo!

  3. Parks says:

    Phil, where are you hearing/seeing such a thing? That would be out of left field and would take some serious meditating on my part to decide if I found it acceptable or not..

  4. oklahoma mountaineer says:

    Could this be the same smoke screen we saw with Randy Shannon a couple of years ago…….??

    Bradley was well thought of as a coordinator up at PSU — it would be a great addition in terms of getting us back into homes in the northeast, particularly NJ.

    I don’t know this is a good statement, but I’ll make it — I don’t think a power-5 conference school should be the first coordinator job for anyone, even one born in Van, WV. You should be cutting your teeth at a lower level first.

  5. smeer says:

    Oklahoma – that too is my reservation with Gibson.

    Didn’t work so well for eFore$

    and DH’s promotion from OC has not come without hiccups/growing pains

    DH has got to look around

    hard part here is having someone come in from the outside and inheriting a coaching staff. never, never easy to bring in a leader from outside the org – unless you want things shaken up

    which I don’t think DH wants to do – not with the revolving door from the last four years.

    it would require an exceptional leader who can build chemistry amongst a bunch of type As

  6. smeer says:

    Did Keith Patterson spend so much time with reporters because he didn’t have any of the coaches as friends that he would hang around with after practice? (strains of Eleanor Rigby play softly in the background)

    (that or he had lots of times on his hands because he didn’t use facebook or twitter?)

  7. Rugger says:

    He did a lot of Facetime w Graham.

  8. Parks says:

    I thought it was snapchat?

  9. MontanaEER says:

    Mike, three words for your stay in Lawrence: Free State Brewery.

  10. The 25314 says:

    To recap….

    RR is hired at WVU and fires Dunlap and Kirlav, and hires Gibson and Graham and Randolph.
    Randolph and Graham leave, and RR hires back Kirlav and Tall.
    Graham is hired at Tulsa and hires Patterson.
    Gibson and Tall choose to follow RR to UM. Casteel and Kirlav choose to stay at WV.
    Stew hires Mullen from Wake and brings in Galloway and Dunlap and Holliday, who in turn brings in Seider.
    Holiday leaves for Marshall and takes Seider.
    Stew refuses to fire Mullen, so Luck does so and forces Holgorsen on him.
    Holgorsen fires all O coaches except Galloway. Galloway then chooses to leave for Wake.
    Gibson and Patterson and Randolph are hired by Graham at Pitt.
    Tall and Mullen go to UNC Charlotte to coach for Lambert, who came from Wake.
    Holgorsen then runs off Casteel and Kirlav, but retains Dunlap.
    Graham goes to ASU and brings Randolph, but not Patterson.
    RR rehires Casteel and Kirlav and Gibson at AZ.
    Holgorsen hires Patterson.
    Holgorsen rehires Seider, and fires Dunlap.
    Holgorsen then hires Galloway back and Gibson leaves RR for Holgorsen.
    Cogdell who was recruited by Holliday is hired by Holgorsen.
    Patterson leaves Holgorsen for Graham at ASU, and WVU possibly rehires Tall.

    At some point I have heard that:

    Rich Rod hated Graham
    Gibson who loved Rich Rod worked for Graham
    Stew hated Holgorsen
    Tall and Galloway and Dunlap liked Stewart and then worked for Holgorsen.
    Holliday hated Holgorsen
    Holiday liked Seider and Dunlap and Cogdell
    Seider and Cogdell and Dunlap worked for Holgorsen
    Rich Rod hated Holliday
    Stew loved Holliday then hated Holliday
    Holgorsen hated Graham
    Holgorsen hires previous Graham coaches Gibson and Patterson

    I don’t even know what to make of all this. Except most coaches don’t like Holliday. And the coaching business is incestuous.

  11. Mike Casazza says:

    That’s tremendous, Zip.

  12. Mack says:

    Regarding Stanford getting good, let’s not forget that WVU won four bowl games in a row (two of which were BCS bowls) and then won another BCS bowl four years later. Then, WVU had some down years.

    The good and the bad don’t last forever . . . or even for very long. ESPN and short memories just try to make us believe that they do.

  13. Unger, didn’t you serve under Oveur in the Air Force?

    Not directly. Technically, Dunn was under Oveur and I was under Dunn.

    So, Dunn, you were under Oveur and over Unger.

    That’s right. Dunn was over Unger and I was over Dunn.

    So, you see, both Dunn and I were under Oveur, even though I was under Dunn.

    Dunn was over Unger, and I was over Dunn.

  14. Mike Casazza says:

    Been there, done that Montana. Excellent pick.

  15. smeer says:

    hey even Duke went bowling.

    ask anyone three/two years ago if that was possible

    heck last year they were 6-7 and most of us would have thought that an anomaly

    based on 2000-2007 . . .

    2007 1-11
    2006 0-12
    2005 1-10
    2004 2-9
    2003 4 -8
    2002 2-10
    2001 0-11
    2000 0-11

    2013 10-4

  16. smeer says:

    well done zip

    WVU coaching makes for strange bed-fellows

    does this happen anywhere else or is peculiar to our beloved institution?

  17. MontanaEer says:

    Mike, I was there last summer and was bummed they didn’t have the barleywine up. They do a masterful barleywine.

  18. Parks says:

    Zip wins the internet. With all due respect to JC’s comment about Montana–I like you both–zip just made the type of post that takes the cake. Well done sir. That took a lot of thought and work.. That’s why this blog is my second home. Simply fantastic!!

  19. AnxiousEER97 says:

    Phil Elmassian had a lot of coordinator experience when we hired him.

  20. hoot says:

    &*%$! Who the %&*$ is Phil *&+%$#@ Elmassian?
    (sorry, couldn’t resist that one)

    Clarence Oveur….good one…just don’t call me Shirley.