I’ve been doing some thinking about some fun offseason topics that will help this summer go by as fast as possible (the waiting for football part, not the good weather/golf season part). Hopefully, we’ll roll a few out in the next couple weeks, but if you’ve got any ideas feel free to email them to me or drop me a tweet.
As we catch up after the first weekend of June, let’s get a few outstanding items out of the way…
Matt Romine has finalized his transfer to Tulsa, going home to play for his former high school football coach. Romine will reunite with Bill Blankenship, Tulsa’s first year coach, who replaces new Pittsburgh head coach Todd Graham.
“This was something I had in the back of my mind when things were not working out for me at Notre Dame,” Romine told the Tulsa World last week. “In the back of my mind, I knew about the rule and graduate school has been a goal of mine.
“A lot of things fell into place when Coach Blankenship got the head coach’s job, it was a no-brainer after that.”
Romine’s transfer is possible thanks to an NCAA rule that allows graduated players with a year of eligibility left to transfer without penalty into a school with a graduate program your current school doesn’t provide. It’s a good rule that’s a nice reward for student-athletes that take care of their academic business.
(Of course, leave it to the SEC to go and screw that one up while trying to right another wrong…)
Romine’s departure has been in the works since just after Signing Day, but the necessary paperwork and compliance issues delayed any announcement until now. Here’s wishing Romine the best of luck in his final season of college football, playing in front of family and friends at home.
He was another elite recruit that never quite found his way at Notre Dame, but he’s got one final season to make a mark on his college career.
Rivals.com’s Tom Dienhart put together a fun list of the “Top 20 hottest assistants in the nation” which he headlined with Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. While names like Charley Molnar and Chuck Martin were mentioned this offseason for potential head coaching jobs, it’s another assistant that makes the rather prestigious list at No. 12: offensive line coach and running game coordinator Ed Warinner.
The buzz: Bright and articulate, Warinner, 49, formerly oversaw a Kansas offense that averaged 445.5 yards, 302.1 passing yards and 35.3 points from 2007-09. If the Irish bust through to a BCS bowl, Warinner, whose 2007 attack helped the Jayhawks win the Orange Bowl, figures to land a job. He also has worked at Army, Air Force and Illinois.
Warinner was one of my favorite hires on Kelly’s staff and the work he did last year with an offensive line with three new starters was impressive. Warinner was mentioned for the Nebraska offensive coordinator job — possibly one of the reasons he was giving the title of run game coordinator — but it’s good to see Warinner’s name on a list that just as easily could have had Molnar, Martin, Tony Alford or Bob Diaco’s names on it.
Speaking of lists, SI.com’s Andy Staples takes another shot at a doozy — this time ranking college football’s 20 most desirable head coaching jobs.
Not exactly surprising is the ranking of Texas at the top of the list. An in-state talent base that gives you a practical monopoly on some of the nation’s best players and a college that’s set to launch its own TV network. What is surprising is Staples’ placement at No. 2: Ohio State, fresh off the dirty bomb that went off in Columbus last week.
Ranking just behind rivals USC (nevermind the decimating scholarship reductions) and Michigan (fresh off the early exit of Rich Rodriguez), Notre Dame checks in at No. 13.
Here’s Staples’ rationale:
Even though Notre Dame hasn’t truly been a national title contender for two decades, the job remains one of the best in college football. The Fighting Irish will pay a coach handsomely. Of course, boosters and fans expect results. Notre Dame has no local recruiting base, but it has a natural in with players at every Catholic high school in America. It also has its own network TV deal, which doesn’t mean as much as it used to but still brings cachet. Notre Dame’s academic standards are tougher than the schools listed above, and that will always mean the Irish will draw from a smaller pool of recruits than the rest. Despite that, this remains a plum job that will draw big-name candidates whenever it opens.
It’s hard to argue with Staples’ perspective and I always find exercises like this more trouble than they’re worth anyway. But a few quick questions: Are the heading coaching jobs at Arizona and Arizona State two of the Top 20? Have you been to these places? Did Staples forget to read colleague George Dohrmann’s article? Oregon, the best job on the West Coast?
Agree with him or not, credit Staples for putting the time in and setting up the billboard for everybody to throw darts at…
If you’re looking for some great photos and a good recap of a terrific week, head over to our friends at HerLoyalSons.com and check out The Biscuit’s journey through the 2011 Notre Dame Fantasy Football Camp.
Biscuit made his debut in football pads — literally — and thanks to Chad Klunder and the Notre Dame staff had the week of his life. I can speak from experience and say that it’s one of the more memorable things you can do in your adult life, and hopefully when he’s done icing his hamstring he’ll let us know how the actual Blue-Gold game ended.