Pat Forde

  • AD Pat Haden has shown he can do it all – except bring success to USC

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    Star player. Star student. Prominent broadcaster. Successful lawyer. Savvy businessman. Permanently youthful. Perpetually distinguished. Talk to people of that certain age and you will come away convinced that there’s not a thing he can’t do better than 99 percent of the populace.

    Except maybe run a major athletic department.

    One of the game’s all-time golden boys has had a five-year tenure as athletic director at his alma mater, USC, that has left a few dents on the old halo. Haden is one of those guys who is regularly referred to as “dignified” – yet USC athletics has staggered through one indignity after another during Haden’s time in charge.

    The indignities aren’t necessarily his doing – but some of them have come from a guy Haden personally hired to put a better face on the program than his predecessor. For a classy guy, Haden has been bogged down by dealing with a lot of low-class stuff.

    Sarkisian said he does not believe he has a drinking problem, but is seeking treatment anyway. However, that treatment apparently will not take him away from his long-hour, high-stress job – which seems a bit antithetical, really. But strange is the new normal at USC.

  • College football's 25 Most Intriguing Games of 2015

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    Back by popular demand (or a lack of alternative content), we have the college football Most Intriguing Lists of 2015. That's not necessarily the best, not necessarily the most popular – it's the most intriguing. First week: Most Intriguing Coaches. Second week:Most Intriguing Quarterbacks. Third week:Most Intriguing Non-Quarterbacks. Wrapping up the series this week: Most Intriguing Games.

    [Preseason rankings: See how our fantasy experts stack each position]

  • Art Briles' apparent lie puts his future at Baylor in doubt

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    On Thursday, Baylor football coach Art Briles could charitably have been considered an incompetent know-nothing who had little interest in learning the off-the-field truth about a troubled transfer into his program.

    On Friday, Briles looks more like a flat-out liar.

    Now we'll see whether that's the man the Baptist school in Waco still wants leading its football program.

    When Washington coach Chris Petersen issued a statement to ESPN Friday afternoon saying that he personally informed Briles about the reason for defensive end Sam Ukwuachu's dismissal from Boise State (where Peterson used to coach) in 2013, it put Briles' credibility on the front burner. Coaches don't always do what Petersen did. Good for him for speaking up – and bad for Briles.

    A damning Texas Monthly exposé that was published this week, before the conviction, revealed that Ukwuachu was a major problem at Boise State:

    But at what cost?


  • Why Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson still runs option offense, and why it still works

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    ATLANTA – Contrary to rumor, Paul Johnson’s office overlooking Bobby Dodd Stadium is not hewn out of rock.

    There are no cave drawings on the walls. He does not come to work at Georgia Tech wearing a Fred Flintstone animal skin.

    In clear refutation of perception, Johnson actually has a desktop computer. And an iPhone sits in front of him – albeit one that looks like a dated model, maybe an iPhone 4.

    But amid the trappings of fancy modern offices, the Yellow Jackets’ facility is permeated with the smell of sweat. Nice furniture and carpet can’t hide that. It’s football’s ancient ingredient, and Johnson is right at home with ancient stuff.

    As long as it keeps working. And it is.

    The Yellow Jackets went 11-3 last year, winning both the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division and the Orange Bowl, and they could be every bit as good in 2015 if a new crop of backs and receivers step up. Despite the alleged antiquity of the man in charge.

    Johnson may be the last college football coach to send in plays by word of mouth – his mouth into a player’s ear, who runs onto the field and relays it to the quarterback, who then calls it to the team in the huddle. Yes, they still huddle at Georgia Tech.

  • Brian Kelly has learned what's needed to succeed at Notre Dame – and what needs to improve

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Brian Kelly is entering his sixth season as the football coach at Notre Dame, which shows some staying power. Seriously.

    This is a dog-years job, tending to grind up coaches in five years or fewer. Only four others in the program's 128-year history have lasted longer than five seasons, and all of them were national title-winning giants: Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz. Kelly has no title and his .692 winning percentage doesn't compare to Rockne's (.881), Leahy's (.855), Parseghian's (.836) or Holtz's (.765).

    But let's face it, it's a different job now than it was then.

    Given Kelly's deceptively long tenure, he was asked Tuesday at Notre Dame media day if he's grown more comfortable on the job. His answer was interesting.

    "Like I said, I don't think you ever feel comfortable here at Notre Dame. And I don't mean that in a negative way. I just think you've always got to be looking at how to get better every day."

    I asked him a follow-up question: What are those strengths and weaknesses? That answer was interesting, too.

    They came back raving about the experience.

  • College football's 25 Most Intriguing Non-Quarterbacks of 2015

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    Back by popular demand (or a lack of alternative content), we have the college football Most Intriguing Lists of 2015. That's not necessarily the best, not necessarily the most popular – it's the most intriguing. First week: Most Intriguing Coaches. Last week: Most Intriguing Quarterbacks. This week: Most Intriguing Non-Quarterbacks.

    1. Braxton Miller, Ohio State wide receiver. Until last month he was ticketed for the Most Intriguing Quarterback List. Then the two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year made the biggest position switch of 2015, which should lower Urban Meyer's stress level in deciding on a QB while simultaneously helping the Buckeyes get another weapon on the field. And it should help Miller's NFL future as well. Can't wait to see how Meyer uses him.

    More college football coverage:

  • First World problem: Will Ohio State go with Barrett or Jones at QB?

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The jarring truth is that either J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones is going to be Ohio State's backup quarterback in the very near future.

    The best backup quarterback in college football. A guy who could start almost everywhere but in crowded Columbus.

    When decision day comes, the loser in the nation's most interesting quarterback derby may handle it better than the coaches in charge of making the decision.

    "Yeah, that'll probably be a tough one," Buckeyes quarterback coach Tim Beck said at Ohio State media day on Sunday. "Thanks for bringing that up."

    For now, at least, Jones and Barrett sound like they will be at peace with whatever head coach Urban Meyer, Beck and co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner decide.

    "I know how I'm going to handle it [if Jones starts]," Barrett said. "Obviously, you didn't make the plays to make this the best offense it can be. Who am I going to blame? Am I going to blame the coach? Am I going to blame Cardale? That doesn't make sense."

    Said Jones: "If I'm not the starter, then I should have worked harder and done better in camp. Simple."


  • In the SEC, all the power rests with the West

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 14 days ago

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Looking back, the power shift occurred in 41 days.

    On Dec. 5, 2009, Alabama upset defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Florida in the Southeastern Conference championship game. Nick Saban's ascent to the top of college football was nearly complete. Tim Tebow's run was ending.

    Four days later, Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong became the head coach at Louisville.

    Twenty-two days after Strong left Gainesville, Auburn got a commitment from junior-college transfer quarterback (and former Gator) Cam Newton.

    On Jan. 7, Alabama beat Texas for the national title.

    On Jan. 12, Lane Kiffin abruptly left Tennessee after a single season, and within three days the Volunteers catastrophically closed in on Derek Dooley as his replacement.

    From that point on, the SEC West was in charge of America's strongest football conference. The East has been squashed ever since.

    "When you get to the SEC championship game, the East hasn't got it done, and we've been part of that," Georgia coach Mark Richt said.

    And if you're looking to assign blame in the East, there are some easy targets.

    Start with Tennessee.

    More college football coverage:

  • College football's 25 Most Intriguing Quarterbacks of 2015

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 17 days ago

    Back by popular demand (or a lack of alternative content), we have the college football Most Intriguing Lists of 2015. That’s not necessarily the best, not necessarily the most popular – it’s the most intriguing. Last week: Most Intriguing Coaches. This week: Most Intriguing Quarterbacks.

    1. Whoever Starts at Ohio State. He will have prevailed in one of the most fascinating QB duels in college history – a competition fierce enough to have sent a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year packing to wide receiver. And he will still have a backup who is plenty capable breathing down his neck. Gut feel says the starter will be J.T. Barrett, whose nose-to-the-grindstone, alpha-male approach fits Urban Meyer best. But just wait until Ohio State’s first three-and-out...

    [ThePostGame: Why Big Ten is on the upswing]


  • Despite third-wheel status, Michigan State remains first-rate program

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 21 days ago

    CHICAGO – And now, Michigan State is back to being Cooper Manning.

    There are three Manning brothers – Peyton, Eli, and, oh yeah, Cooper. You don’t hear much about him, the oldest. Cooper is the one who played wide receiver, the one who never became a superstar, Super Bowl-winning, commercial-making quarterback.

    The Spartans know how it feels to be the third wheel. That’s been their historic station (at best) in the Big Ten.

    They’ve had a whirlwind media romance over the past couple of seasons, rising out of the shadow of Ohio State and Michigan to produce a pair of top-five seasons and a pair of thrilling bowl victories. But the love never seems to last in East Lansing. Even now, with Michigan State poised to produce a third straight excellent season, you can feel it fading.

    Why? Because Ohio State is the defending national champion and absolutely loaded for a repeat bid. And because Jim Harbaugh rode into Ann Arbor on a white horse to save Michigan from itself.

    Ohio State great. Michigan back. Those two storylines will always sell in the Big Ten, and resonate nationally.

    Michigan State’s more quiet quest? You can almost feel the apathetic response to that one. Eh. Wait and see.