College Football 2001: Week 4 Rookie Coach Report Card

Tom PerryCorrespondent ISeptember 22, 2011

College Football 2001: Week 4 Rookie Coach Report Card

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    Florida head coach Will Muschamp is undefeated and already has a big win over a rival to his credit. He is beginning to look like a great replacement for Urban Meyer in Gainesville.

    But he's not alone as there are some other good fits so far—Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia and Brady Hoke at Michigan are just two examples.

    It's still early and opinions can change, but some first-year coaches are getting the job done right now. Of course, there are those who have serious rebuilding jobs and they'll be given time to turn it around.

    As we head into the fourth week of the season, let's look at the grades for each rookie coach.

Hugh Freeze: Arkansas State

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    Arkansas State is 1-2, but played Virginia Tech in a close game last week.

    Hugh Freeze is a high energy guy who could be the right person to get the Red Wolves competing at a higher level in the Sun Belt.

    Grade: B-

Pete Lembo: Ball State

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    Following a season of few bright spots for Ball State, so far Pete Lembo is delivering some good news.

    The Cardinals pulled off a minor upset by going to Indiana and knocking off the Hoosiers 27-20 in the season opener. In the process he beat fellow rookie coach Kevin Wilson.

    Lembo's team is also 1-0 in the Mid-American Conference after beating Buffalo 28-25 last week.

    Grade: B

Jon Embree: Colorado

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    Jon Embree gets a pass in his first season since everyone knows he took over a dog program from Dan Hawkins.

    But so far there are no reassuring signs that the Buffaloes are going to be any better two or three years down the road.

    The only positive so far is a win over a dismal Colorado State program that will likely fire its head coach sometime this season.

    Grade: C

Paul Pasqualoni: Connecticut

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    Paul Pasqualoni had a great run at Syracuse and the man knows football.

    But he took over the defending Big East champs and the offense remains inept. Connecticut just blew a potential win against Iowa State. It never looks good when you lose to Vanderbilt either.

    The Huskies should be 3-0 right now, not 1-2.

    Grade: D

Will Muschamp: Florida

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    Will Muschamp has his large allegiance of Florida fans believing they could return to the top of the SEC quicker than expected.

    Even his gamble on Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator is paying off. The Gators should be 4-0 when they host No. 3 Alabama on Oct. 1.

    Grade: A

Kevin Wilson: Indiana

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    The season-opening loss to Ball State just doesn't cut it.

    Kevin Wilson is a respected coach who arrived from Oklahoma. He's intense and already has one of the nation's top recruits committed to the Hoosiers.

    Give him time and maybe he can get Indiana up to seven or eight wins.

    Grade: D

Darrell Hazell: Kent State

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    Kent State's current apathetic state is not all Darrell Hazell's fault.

    But if you're the man in charge of a program that is 0-3 and ranks near the bottom in nearly every statistical category, you have to take some of the blame.

    Grade: D

Mark Hudspeth: Louisiana-Lafayette

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    We'll learn more about Mark Hudspeth as a coach following this week's game with Florida International. Louisiana-Lafayette is 2-1 with wins over Kent State and Nicholls State.

    In a trouncing by Oklahoma State in the season opener, the Ragin' Cajuns did put up 34 points on the No. 9 Cowboys.

    Grade: B

Randy Edsall: Maryland

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    Randy Edsall upped his overall mark a bit after the Terrapins did a nice job of fighting back against No. 16 West Virginia last week. However, Maryland still lost 37-31 and are 1-1 in 2011.

    The season-opening 32-24 win over Miami was only overshadowed by the hideous uniforms Maryland wore.

    Grade: B

Al Golden: Miami

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    With everything Al Golden had to endure since taking over the Miami program, it's amazing the Hurricanes are 1-1.

    There's still talent in Coral Gables, but the program is potentially on the verge of a total meltdown. Golden is doing his job well and no one will be shocked if he leaves at the first opportunity.

    Grade: A

Don Treadwell: Miami (Ohio)

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    Despite an 0-2 record, Don Treadwell is doing some good things at the other Miami. The Red Hawks' two close losses were to superior teams.

    Miami gave No. 17 Missouri fits in the opener before bowing 17-6 on the road. Then Miami traveled to Minnesota and almost denied Jerry Kill his first win, but the Gophers came out on top 29-23.

    Grade: B-

Brady Hoke: Michigan

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    Brady Hoke is looking good in Ann Arbor these days. Michigan has been here before with Rich Rodriguez but something feels different with Hoke in charge.

    The Wolverines beat both Eastern and Western Michigan and pulled off a miracle comeback against rival Notre Dame.

    If he wants to add a plus next to that grade he needs to beat Ohio State.

    Grade: A

Jerry Kill: Minnesota

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    Jerry Kill is a fighter and a good fit for Minnesota, but so far the results are far from impressive.

    It is probably more of a reflection on Tim Brewster, who didn't leave much talent behind, but Kill's team still lost to a mediocre New Mexico State and struggled to beat Miami of Ohio.

    Kill will have better days, but it's going to be a long 2011.

    Grade: D

Everett Withers: North Carolina

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    Everett Withers was thrown into the top spot at North Carolina following the firing of Butch Davis in the summer.

    He has responded by leading the Tar Heels to a 3-0 mark and maybe he's opening some eyes in the UNC administration about making him the full-time coach. Right now he's still the interim.

    Grade: A

Dan McCarney: North Texas

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    North Texas has been bad so long, you almost forget it plays football.

    Dan McCarney was hired to change that, but so far all the Mean Green have done is give up 41 or more points in three straight losses, including a 41-0 thumping to No. 2 Alabama.

    Grade: D

Dave Doeren: Northern Illinois

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    Dave Doeren took over for Jerry Kill after Northern Illinois rolled to the Mid-American Conference championship game.

    The Huskies are 1-2, but the losses came against Kansas (45-42) and No. 7 Wisconsin (49-7). NIU should get back on the winning side of things against Cal Poly this week.

    Grade: C

Luke Fickell: Ohio State

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    Through two games, Luke Fickell was looking OK. Then there was the meltdown in Miami and now Ohio State fans are ready to run him out of town.

    Can Ohio State bring back Jim Tressel? Not likely. But it doesn't look good for Fickell's long-term employment at his alma mater.

    Grade: C

Todd Graham: Pittsburgh

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    Sometimes Todd Graham's ego gets in the way of results.

    Pittsburgh may be 2-1, but the Panthers let a big win at Iowa get away from them last week, and they played horribly against Maine the week before.

    Pitt fired Dave Wannstedt for this?

    Grade: F

Rocky Long: San Diego State

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    Rocky Long gets the top grade because San Diego State is 3-0 and has two wins in games that could have gone either way. Of course, this week is big in so many ways.

    The Aztecs get a chance to spoil the season of their old coach, Brady Hoke. San Diego State will play at Michigan Saturday.

    Grade: A+

David Shaw: Stanford

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    David Shaw really stepped into a good situation at Stanford. What he hasn't done is screw it up.

    That's not a knock on Shaw, it's actually a compliment. How many times have we seen a coach take a perfect scenario and mess it up? Can anyone say Bill Stewart?

    Stanford is 3-0 and ranked fifth in the nation. Once he wins the Pac-12 the grade will go up more.

    Grade: A-

Steve Addazio: Temple

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    Steve Addazio has Temple playing at the level that Al Golden instilled in the Owls before he left for Miami.

    Last week's 14-10 loss to Penn State is probably more telling of Addazio's ability than Temple's two victories.

    Addazio hopes to do one thing Golden couldn't in his time at Temple—win a Mid-American Conference championship.

    Grade: A-

Bill Blankenship: Tulsa

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    Do you think Bill Blankenship looked at the 2011 schedule before accepting the job? He should have.

    Tulsa has played No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 8 Oklahoma State and hits the road this week to take on No. 4 Boise State. No wonder Tulsa is 1-2.

    Once Tulsa starts playing more Conference USA games there's a good chance Blankenship's fortunes will improve.

    Grade: C+

James Franklin: Vanderbilt

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    James Franklin is coach of the year after three games.   He's 3-0 at Vanderbilt with wins over Ole Miss and Connecticut. OK, those aren't powerhouse programs.

    But it's Vanderbilt people. All hail James Franklin.

    Grade: A+

Dana Holgorsen: West Virginia

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    It may be a year earlier than expected, but Dana Holgorsen has already made an immediate impact on West Virginia's offense.

    Last year, WVU averaged 25.2 points per game while going 9-4. This year, the No. 16 Mountaineers are averaging 42.0 points a game and are 3-0 with LSU coming to town.

    If he leads WVU to a Big East championship then the grade rises. The only knock on Holgorsen's offense so far is the lack of a running threat.

    Grade: A-