Bearcats Breakfast 8.26.13

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Happy Game Week, everybody. 

This Saturday, noon, Nippert Stadium. UC. Purdue. White Out. Sell out. 

You've waited a long time for this, so let's soak in the fact we are finally talking about football players making football plays in a football game on a football field. 

On that note, how about the 2012 highlight video to amp you up. 

Let's eat ...

--- There will be a sell out at Nippert Stadium as clearly the excitement over the Tommy Tuberville era coupled with a challenging regional opponent connected with the fan base in ways you could only hope for as a department. Whit Babcock discussed Tuberville and the football program in this piece by Bill Koch on Sunday. As always, well done by Bill, but one quote from Whit stood out to me. 

"I didn't have the sense that it would be so well received," Babcock said. "I didn't think people would criticize it, but it made a lot of our fan base happy in a way that it happened quickly and an established coach came in. The morale and uplifting of Cincinnati fans and alumni, that made me really happy, not for my ego, but I thought, you know what, these people have had coaches leave and walk out and people seemed to hold their head a little higher. That was one of my favorite moments.

"Now you have to keep this in perspective. He's going to have to win games and run the program the right way, so the honeymoon is about to be over. I have great faith in him to do it."

Moral of the story: Love you, Tubs. So far, so good. But you have to win just like everyone else.

--- One of the most difficult tasks to overcome for coaches in their first year is building the comfort level with players who have won in previous systems. Typically, you see the biggest jump in the second/third seasons when the new players know what to expect from their new coach. 

With so much transition in the sport, you see it every year. It takes time for these coaches to have their program and understand how these new players will react when the lights come on. 

Tuberville will fight that Saturday. Luckily, across the field, so will new Purdue coach Darrell Hazell. 

Look at last year. Here are all the coaches who took over programs who enjoyed better than .500 seasons the year before and how they fared. 

John L. Smith, Arkansas11 and 24 and 8-6 ½
Gus Malzahn, Arkansas St.10 and 310 and 3None
Tony Levine, Houston13 and 15 and 7-7
Tim Beckman, Illinois7 and 62 and 10-4 1/2
Larry Fedora, UNC 7 and 68 and 41 1/2
Bill O'Brien, Penn St.9 and 48 and 4-0.5
Kyle Flood, Rutgers9 and 49 and 4None
Ellis Johnson, Southern Miss12 and 20 and 12-11
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M7 and 611 and 24
Matt Campbell, Toledo9 and 49 and 4None

Of the 10 coaches who took over new programs next year half of them equaled the win percentage of the previous year or increased it. And really, if not for Penn State being locked out of a bowl game Bill O'Brien would have made it 6 of 10. 

The significant drop offs such as epic fail at Southern Miss and falloff at Houston following departure of Kevin Sumlin draw headlines, but as a whole first year coaches last year showed and ability to post wins on the board. 

Here is a look at the results from the 2011 season under the same circumstances: 

Paul Pasqualoni, Connecticut8 and 55 and 7-2 1/2
Will Muschamp, Florida8 and 57 and 6-1
Randy Edsall, Maryland9 and 42 and 10-6 1/2
Al Golden, Miami7 and 66 and 6- 1/2
Brady Hoke, Michigan7 and 611 and 24
Everett Withers (I), UNC8 and 57 and 6-1
Dave Doeren, Northern Ill.11 and 311 and 3None
Luke Fickell (I), OSU12 and 16 and 7-6
Todd Graham, Pitt8 and 56 and 7-2
Rocky Long, San Diego St.9 and 48 and 5-1
David Shaw, Stanford12 and 111 and 2-1
Steve Addazio, Temple8 and 49 and 4½
Bill Blankenship, Tulsa10 and 38 and 5-2
Dan Holgorsen, WVU9 and 410 and 31

Most notably, four of the 15 coaches guided their teams to double-digit victories in the first year with the new team. That's substantial and more than anything proves success immediately is attainable. Even though, 10 coaches trended in the wrong direction only Luke Fickell amid the Ohio State disaster (an impossible situation) and Randy Edsall at Maryland (just bad coaching) were more than two wins in the wrong direction. 

So, in the past two years, 25 teams have inherited new coaches on a team that finished the previous year over .500:

  • 60 percent decreased win total
  • 24 percent finished with double-digit wins
  • 20 percent slid at least 5 games in the wrong direction
  • 20 percent increased win total
  • 16 percent stayed the same
The bottom line of all these numbers are this: Improving with a team already used to winning fights the odds. Yet, many have made the jump without much problem. As in any coaching subset, there will be outliers, but most end up right around the same spot they were the previous year. 

--- In case you didn't see it, ESPN did add an AAC blog after it appeared the dissolution of the Big East blog might leave you without extra fodder. Not expecting anything groundbreaking there, but here's their season preview of the Bearcats. 

--- Pat Forde with Yahoo! on Tommy Tuberville, his golf cart, moving past Texas Tech and being the centerpiece of The American. Great piece. 

--- Love the perspective of Silverberry Mouhon and Brad Harrah from my defensive ends story last week. Hope you give it a read. Great to see good kids earn their moment. 

--- When looking at Purdue, their challenge begins right in the middle with defensive tackle Bruce Gaston. Plenty of pressure on the Bearcats dinged up interior line. 

--- Randomness ...

--- I'm all about going deep sea fishing, but when the fish start attacking back is when I call it quits. 

--- Only one song really fits as we start up the first game week of the season. New jam from Robert Randolph and the Family Band, which you should know if you don't. Everybody get amped up. Have a great day. 

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