Pat Forde

  • Ohio State's three-man QB battle rages on as coaches refuse to commit in spring

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State offensive coordinator Ed Warinner sat at a round table Saturday, reporters ringing him two deep after the Buckeyes’ spring game.

    Demand for information was high. Supply was low.

    “The position you all want to talk about,” Warinner said, “there’s nothing else to talk about there.”

    The position is quarterback, and with apologies to Warinner that’s what everyone wants to talk about until a 2015 starter is named. This is the most intriguing personnel competition in the nation. Maybe ever.

    There have been plenty of two-man quarterback battles between worthy competitors. But how many three-man battles? On a team that won the national title last season and will enter August as the prohibitive title favorite?

    The Buckeyes quite possibly have the most proven quarterback talent in college football history. They have a trio of players who have won, and won big, and played superbly in the process.

    Braxton Miller is 22-2 as a starting quarterback under Urban Meyer, finished fifth in the 2012 Heisman Trophy voting and set the school record for single-season total offense. His shoulder injury last August was supposed to doom the Buckeyes’ national championship aspirations.

  • Buckeyes set spring game record as staggering number of fans pack Ohio Stadium

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Very few college football teams in America have the stadium size or fan base to draw 99,000 fans to a game.

    Only one can draw that many to a spring scrimmage.

    An announced throng of 99,391 nearly filled 104,944-seat Ohio Stadium on Saturday for the defending national champion Ohio State Buckeyes’ spring scrimmage. The crowd is a national spring game record, eclipsing the previous record of 95,722 – set by Ohio State in 2009.

    "I was shocked. That's ridiculous," safety Tyvis Powell said. "I don't think it's going to ever be like this anywhere else in the world."

    Alabama has had crowds of more than 90,000 since Nick Saban arrived in 2007. Prior to Saturday, Nebraska had the largest spring crowd of 2015 at 76,881.

    With tickets going for $5 and the bandwagon full coming off the school’s first national title since 2002, advance sales reached 61,000 Friday morning. School officials anticipated up to 90,000 fans. But with the weather nearly perfect, the walk-up crowd surpassed expectations, leading to a record turnout.

     

  • The year college basketball's coaching carousel got weird

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    The fact that Greg Gard is, as of this writing, still the associate head basketball coach at Wisconsin is great news for the Badgers. It is bad news for the rest of college basketball, because it speaks to the nonsensical nature of the hires made in the sport.

    Gard just completed his 14th season at Wisconsin, and has been with Bo Ryan since 1993. Gard gets first call on opponent scouting reports, and serves as the Badgers’ recruiting coordinator – and no school in the country has done a better job identifying unheralded players who become future stars. He is integral to a program that has won consistently all century, and has moved into the elite echelon in the last two years.

    So, why is this man still waiting for his chance to be a head coach?

    In a hiring-and-firing cycle that saw more than its usual share of strangeness, that question is more pertinent than ever. Trying to figure out what schools are thinking come hiring time seems to get more difficult every year, as proven assistants at big-time programs continue to not get hired.

    The current trends seem to be:

    Nostalgia is in.

    NBA backgrounds are in.

    Recent success is out.

    Hiring high-major assistant coaches is out.

  • Mike Krzyzewski adapts, turns one-and-done into Duke's fifth title

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 14 days ago

    INDIANAPOLIS – The Krzyzewski family picture at midcourt looked rather different from the scene in this same city in 1991.

    Back then, when Mike Krzyzewski was winning his first national title, there was just the Duke coach, his wife, Mickie, and his three daughters. Monday night, after the latest title was secured with a gritty comeback to beat Wisconsin 68-63, they needed a wide-angle lens to get everyone in the picture.

    There was Mike and his wife and three daughters, but also three sons-in-law and nine grandchildren. Cradled in the coach's left arm was the youngest grandkid, 20-month-old Caden.

    Caden had a pacifier in his mouth and no shoes on his feet. In his right hand was a piece of the confetti that rained down from the rafters of Lucas Oil Stadium minutes earlier, after the Blue Devils had won. The little guy wore a blue Duke jersey with the No. 5 on it – equaling the number of national titles "Poppy" has won, second in college basketball history to only John Wooden.

    "We don't do rent-a-player," Ryan said Monday night.

  • Historically brutal tourney run isn't weighing on these goofy Badgers

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago

    INDIANAPOLIS – If anyone can laugh, skip and sing their way through a minefield, it apparently is the Wisconsin Badgers.

    America’s loosest college basketball team is attempting to complete the most arduous trek for a No. 1 seed in NCAA tournament history. The Badgers’ path to immortality is brutal – Kentucky on a Saturday and Duke on a Monday to end it all – but they seem to be having too much fun to notice how hard this is.

    This is a group that giggles its way through press conferences. That dispatched backup forward Vitto Brown to be part of a quartet that sang the national anthem Saturday. That has starting forward Nigel Hayes dishing out polysyllabic Words of the Day to NCAA stenographers (Sunday’s offerings were logorrhea and succedaneum). That attending the Player of the Year award presentation for Frank Kaminsky en masse Thursday, commandeered the microphone and asked him questions.

    The lovable dorks of the Dance are showing no sign of stress.

    If they get this done, it will be one of the greatest NCAA tournament runs ever. Period.

  • Duke roars into national title game playing better than anyone else in tournament

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago

    INDIANAPOLIS – To borrow a phrase from the Cameron Indoor Stadium announcer: Here comes Duke.

    Like a freight train.

    Here comes Duke, back into the national championship game, with a very real chance to win. A large segment of America may not like it, but that segment may just have to deal with it.

    The Blue Devils are playing the best of any team in the NCAA tournament. Their average margin of victory is 17.4 points, with only one game decided by single digits. After ripping Michigan State 81-61 in the first national semifinal at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday night, they'll get a chance to cap off this remarkable Big Dance surge with a fifth title Monday night.

    This is a team peaking at the perfect time.

    From late in the first half onward, this was another low-stress Duke victory. The lead was double digits for the final 22:40, and coach Mike Krzyzewski was able to empty his bench for the third time in this tournament.

    "We've been trying to hang our hats on the defensive end," forward Justise Winslow said.

  • Wisconsin attempts to end Kentucky's historic run by repeating history

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 17 days ago

    INDIANAPOLIS – Aaron Harrison launched The Shot. Josh Gasser leaped to contest. As the ball arced through the air, Harrison's follow-through met Gasser's lunge.

    "I think our fingers actually interlocked," Gasser recalled.

    Their fates interlocked as well. And Harrison had the upper hand that night.

    The Wisconsin guard had given the Kentucky guard just enough space to rise up for a 3-pointer in the dying seconds in last year's Final Four, with the Wildcats down two. Despite Harrison's history of clutch shooting – he'd made shots to beat Louisville and Michigan the previous week – Gasser believes his defense was solid.

    "We played him exactly how we wanted to," Gasser said. "When it left his hand I was feeling pretty good."

    When he turned his head toward the rim, he was feeling pretty bad. Harrison's shot rattled and dropped with 5.7 seconds left, carrying Kentucky to a 74-73 victory and into the national championship game. The Badgers were crushed.

    "Shocked," was the word Traevon Jackson used Friday, more than once.

    But will the outcome be different this time?

    Sound familiar?

  • How Kentucky could separate itself from other perfect teams with wins over Wisconsin and Duke

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago

    INDIANAPOLIS – Mount Everest is more than 29,000 feet above sea level, and climbing it is among the most ambitious and arduous voluntary endeavors on Earth.

    Especially the final 3,000 feet. That's in the so-called "death zone," where lack of oxygen and freezing temperatures are threats to survival.

    Consider No. 1 Kentucky's quest for 40-0 the basketball equivalent of an Everest ascent. The Wildcats have climbed long enough and high enough to see the summit – tantalizingly close – but in the process have reached the death zone. To plant their flag atop the sport, they have to survive the hardest part here in Indy.

    Confronting Kentucky is at least one game against a No. 1 seed – West Region champion Wisconsin, 35-3, winner of the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles, is the opponent Saturday. The Badgers are the No. 3 team in the nation according to Ken Pomeroy's rankings, possess America's most efficient offense and have hungered for another shot at the Wildcats for a year now.

    But for now, the team being measured with the yardstick of history is Kentucky. Which really doesn't fit the profile of previous undefeated champions.

  • Gregg Marshall gets pay bump, stays at Wichita State after brief Alabama courtship

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago

    After flirting for several days, Gregg Marshall notified Alabama on Wednesday night that he was going to remain the basketball coach at Wichita State.

    Crimson Tide athletic director Bill Battle issued a statement acknowledging that the school's search is reopened.

    “I received word tonight that Coach Gregg Marshall has chosen to remain the head basketball coach at Wichita State," Battle said in the statement. "I fully respect his decision and wish him and his family all the best. My objective in this search is focused on one goal: to get the best person available to lead the Alabama men's basketball program. I remain determined to bring to our program a proven head coach with impressive credentials, one who understands and values our program, wants to lead our program, and is excited about what can be accomplished at the University of Alabama."

    Marshall's contract has been enhanced for the third straight year, this time from $1.75 million to in excess of $3 million per year. Sources told Yahoo Sports that Alabama's expected offer was nearly $4 million per year.

    Other candidates could be considered at Alabama as well.

     

  • Sources: Wichita State's Gregg Marshall plans to visit Alabama on Friday

    Pat Forde at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago

    Wichita State basketball coach Gregg Marshall has a tentatively planned family trip to Tuscaloosa on Friday to check out Alabama, sources told Yahoo Sports.

    But Wichita State administrators and boosters are actively fundraising in an attempt to forestall Marshall's trip and keep him as the coach of the Shockers, sources said.

    Alabama is prepared to offer Marshall nearly $4 million annually to become the next coach of the Crimson Tide, according to sources. Wichita State is striving to raise Marshall's compensation to more than $3 million annually in hopes that that would be enough to end the coach's interest in Alabama. Marshall currently is making $1.75 million per year, after receiving raises each of the past two years.

    Crimson Tide athletic director Bill Battle flew to Wichita, Kan., on Monday and met with Marshall. Since then the situation has gotten quiet, but could heat up again if Marshall brings his family to see the Alabama campus and city of Tuscaloosa.

    If Pitino were to go to Alabama, he might not be able to take his full staff with him. Assistant coach Dan McHale is a candidate for the vacant Eastern Kentucky head-coaching job, sources told Yahoo Sports.