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UM names Seahawks' Fisch offensive coordinator

His name began popping up a few days ago. Now we know Seahawks quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch has accepted the University of Miami's vacant offensive coordinator position.

Jedd Fisch

"We are thrilled to announce Coach Fisch as our offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach," UM coach Al Golden said in a statement released by the school. "Through the process, it became abundantly clear that Coach Fisch wanted to be back in college, and more important, he had a passion to be at the University of Miami."

"On background, his credentials and skills are the right match for the pro style offense we will run. Jedd has learned from the best coaches in the game, both professionally and on the college level, and he has taken those experiences to develop his own unique approach. On the field, he is a thorough communicator and devoted to skill development at every position."

"I have to thank Pete Carroll and the Seahawks organization for allowing us to move on this hire during the NFL Playoffs. I can guarantee to you that there will be a lot of UM coaches watching the Seahawks with Coach Fisch and Kelly Jennings, as well as the Chicago Bears with Devin Hester and Greg Olsen on Sunday afternoon."

Fisch, 34, joined Pete Carroll's coaching staff last February after one season as the offensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota in 2009. Fisch's offensive rankings at Minnesota: 109th in total offense (last in the Big Ten), 100th in scoring (also last in the Big Ten), 75th in passing and 111th in rushing offense. 

Prior to his stint with the Gophers, Fisch coached receivers for one season with the Denver Broncos, spent four seasons as an offensive assistant (QB/receivers coach) with the Baltimore Ravens and three seasons with the Houston Texans (2001-03).

A University of Florida graduate, Fisch began coaching under Steve Spurrier as a graduate assistant in 1999-2000.

SOME CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

> Served as wide receivers coach for the Denver Broncos in 2008. The Broncos finished the season as the No. 2-ranked offense in the NFL. Denver was the No. 3 passing team in the league in 2008 as well.

> Tutored two Bronco wide receivers who finished in the top seven in the NFL in receiving yards during 2008. Brandon Marshall tallied 1,265 receiving yards on 104 receptions with six touchdowns. Meanwhile, Eddie Royal recorded 91 catches for 980 yards and five scores.

> Worked with quarterback Steve McNair during 2006 season, when McNair was named to the Pro Bowl and set a franchise record for completion percentage (.630, 295-of-468).

> Helped receivers Derrick Mason (68 receptions) and Mark Clayton (67 receptions) form one of just four tandems in the AFC that featured two players with 65 receptions or more.

Comments

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NO, because he's a smart guy, and has planned out his career path. Read his quotes. He doesn't want to backtrack to a college OC job, period. BTW check your grammar..................it's pretty bad.

CHUDZINSKI IS GOING TO THE DOLPHINS.

My only objection to this guy is that he's a gayturd. Hope he works out better than Hill did with us.

U see, this is just like I told U: The names are changing, but the song will still be the same. Then U go and get a UF grad as OC. That hurts.

Are U telling me that we advanced from the RS years? I don't think so.

A break!!??

Give the ticket paying fan a freaking break!

After all we've hearing from Golden is "NFL GUY" this, NFL GUY" THAT!

And the long wait!... we get a position coach "GUY" just 1 measly year hired by the 1st year coach Carroll!

This a damn fraud!

Not the sexy pick that I was expecting, but I think it could work out if he learns to teach the quarterbacks how not to turn the ball over and pick up at least four yards per play. The problem with Whipple's offense was the playbook seemed to rely heavily on big plays, and all the defenses we played against started to keep coverage on top.

We need pass plays that are simple three step drop and that would minimize the turnovers and sacks. Ultimately, I think that Golden is running out of money and that is why he got someone that has potential but is unproven.

Some of you Canes fans are the ones who give the rest of us bad names. Here is a coach who has served on some imppressive staffs and worked with successful coaches and you guys say...."b b b but the Gators got Weiss." To those fans who have Gaytor envy, you are free to go root for them. Coach Golden has my full support and I will give him the benefit of the doubt (just like I did with Shannon for the first 3 years). Welcome to The U Fisch. Let's get this thing back on track. The fans who always bit** and moan over everything, well you know what you can do.

Hey, hopternalist, I'm with you. U did not advance on this one. I say the names are different, but the song will still be the same. Then U go out and get a UF grad.

That hurts.

Didn't the Seahawks just pull of one of the biggest upsets in NFL playoff history against the Saints and score 41 points?

Keep in mind Hasselback has been beat up most of the year, Whitehurst is the back-up and the team is loaded with average players on Offense...Brandon Stokely is on the team, but he was banged up most of the year and is up there in age.

Minnesota beat Wisconsin in '09 and lost some close games. Let's be real though, he was at Minnesota a total of 1 year. Hardly any time to get anything going offensively especially at a program that can only hope to win 8-9 games in an "up" year.

Let's give the kid a chance.

hopeternalist, are you a season ticket holder like me??????

Per the other posts on here, Chud comes back to Miami for the Dolphins not the 'Canes. Now, in five years, if no head coaching jobs in the NFL and the UM spot is open?????? Coming back as OC would be a step backwards for him.

I am a U of MN graduate and I saw them play, most of the people commenting on this hire are just talking without knowing much. This guy worked with as bare of cupboard of talent as there was in college football, and all of the players loved him and played as hard as they could for him and he was young then. He was very organized and extremely smart. You don't move through the coaching ranks with the support he has had, without some VERY VERY knownledgable people backing you. Give him a chance and lets see what he can do with the talent he is inheriting back home in Florida..

Every coach starts someonewhere and builds the success steps at a time, there is not one first year coach of anything that wowed people with stats just coming into the game. The situation and who they have to work with has a lot to do with it.

Do anybody know wat happened to Jeremy Davis? Is he still commuted to the U? Inside the u reported golden cut ties I'm confused

Not greatly excited about the hire!

I hope he's not the next Patrick Nix!

Manny, Why him Vs. the other candidates? Was it the money? If not, what was the issue?

Also, is he coming onboard immediately, and when and who is rumored to be be the next OL Coach?

First Coach Hill now Coach Fisch. Destroying your program from the inside. GO GATORS!!!!!!!
After he's done he can come back home just like Aubrey did.

I have my doubts about the pro style offense in college football. It can work with a dominant o-line and quality skill players. Time will tell.

First Coach Hill now coach Fisch,destroying your program from the inside. After he's done he can come home like Aubrey did. GO GATORS!!!!

We're probablly losing our heads at those Minnesota numbers, but lets remember that it was MINNESOTA, not necessarily a big time football powerhouse.

Funny, Gatardsam, that is the same thing that ND is saying about Weiss. If Charlie can hold his nose long enough to be in the trailerpark for more than 2 years, that trash program will stay at its mediocre mean for years to come.

Man! Some of you have no clue what so ever.

Already judging this guy by the numbers he put up in Minnesota? It's Minnesota. Not exactly a hot bed for talent. He worked with what he had.

What i see as a positive is his NFL experience. He's worked with talented players and knew how to use them. Hopefully he helped those same talented NFL players get better and hopefully he'll bring that to UM.

Give the guy a chance before knocking him down.

@Miamisbiggoted:

You're an idiot.

My only concern is what happens if Seattle wins this weekend? This will make the window of opportunity smalled for him to talk to the QBs that are deciding between us and Portland State.

Go 'canes!

@Jack Dawson:

If he wins it'll be big and it'll make him look better to UM fans. I'm assuming of course...

Holy crapp!!!!!! Well all I can say is this. The Minnesota stats are horrible. But the Baltimore & Denver stats look alot better. And besides fans he was alot younger @ the time whnen he was coaching Minnesota. So as you can see he has improved his game a whole lot. For instance he has the Seahawks whip up on the last year champs. And then Denver was the 2 or 3rd best passing offense in the NFL!!!!!guys that's better than Mark Whipple's resume if you ask me.

Posted by: Phontsolo

I hope so but these high school kids want something tangible and they liked to be courted. We all better hope Seattle loses this weekend or we could end up with no QBs at all.

Whoa...Leach for LSU's OC??? Crazy coaches meeting ever.

You fairweather Floridans have obviously
never had to recruit a player to come to Minn.Have you been thru a Minn.winter?
He is here to recruit above all else and he
will compete well with the other schools in that regard.Brewster,ex-coach in Minn did leave
him with one trait,do not overlook any talent in Minn.because we don't have alot to ignore!
There is more talent in Broward than all of
Minn.

Does the short bus have internet access these days? I'm surprised some of you were even able to type your incoherent blather without having an aneurysm. GET LITERATE!

Well, it is what it is. What's done is done. Stats not too impressive at first look, but I agree: I don't think Golden would have chosen someone who does not have the killer winning attitude the rest of his staff has AND can "take their marching orders from the Head Coach" AND is smart and has good character. With all the egos out there in sports, these are a tough balance of qualities to find. Let's see what happens. GO CANES!

I like the move! Very excited about the Golden Era!
Bleed Orange and Green!

JEFF FISCH IS no patrick nix but DEFINITELY AN "NFL GUY" AS CALLED BY AL GOLDEN!

True that. But so was Mark Whipple, right?

Jeff Fisch is an NFL coach that came down to the college game as OC for another UM; Uni of Minn. His offense was one-sighted, he wanted to run & do his NFL thing regardless of personel. Had Minnesota hired Al Golden as HC, and Golden wanted Fisch as his OC, would these UMinn players welcome the dogmatic Fisch with open arms?

Or would the players ask for transfers?

Wow! I am in shock. How will this help in recruiting going up against Wise at Florida and Fisher at FSU? He is going to have a hard time selling it.
Golden is asking Cane Nation for a lot of trust on this one. I sincerely hope he is up to the OC job or we are going to be in a lot of trouble.

Posted by: me.yahoo.com/a/UHQbp0pgsIsu4C7EYtn9moiHcMTX | January 13, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Read more: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/umiami/2011/01/report-fisch-to-be-ums-new-offensive-coordinator.html#ixzz1Awpb4XfJ

Yes, because coach Weis was a great coach in Notre Shame, yes, he is better.

And talk about hiring a wide receivers coach, coach Hill surely developed the wideouts in Miami.

NOT!

Gaytors doesn't know what's about to hit them with this new regime in place.

Guys calm down!! Remember the goal is guys who can coach, develop players and recruit. Stop wanting a "sexy" name. Hell Auburns OC was coaching HS a few years ago. Mike Shanahan coach at the Gaytors and won 2 NFL Ships. Nick Saban flopped at Miami. Charley Weiss well we know how that turned out. Butch Davis is solid at N C, but I don't think you got them pegged to win it all either. Should I continue? Didn't think so. And quite frankly I don't think these football coaches or UM cares what a "your job here" thinks. Gentlemen I saw his offense at Minnesota and it was well coached, balanced, used TE and not predictable. The ingredients just weren't available in Minnesota. We're on our way back trust me!

C'mon guys.

Let's review his work 12 months from now.

We are getting back to running a physical, pro-style set that caters to our strength (running backs, O-line).

Seriously, anybody that bashes (or lauds) this hire now is being premature.

A young, Gator grad with strong NFL experience. An up and comer with Florida roots.
He will be a solid teacher, motivator and recruiter for the U. He must be motivated to come to the U even though he is on Pete Carroll's staff. I think this will be a big improvement for the Canes. Then again, maybe he just needs some sunshine. GO CANES!

Mr C and Cane Fan,
Good positive thoughts. I watched Minnesota play. With HC coaching issues, they still had a nicely balanced attack and 2 wideouts that were good. I believe that they were usually competitive and played hard.
Welcome aboard Coach Fisch!

This is a bad hire you can say he didnt have talent at Minnesota but neither does alot of other programs and they get it done it this guy isnt a good coordinator maybe a goog position coach not a coordinator he wasnt even a coordinator in the nfl he was a position coach and coach talented players so where does he (Golden) get such a good feeling about this guy. Ahh yeah he's from Jersey Goldens side of tracks seems like he is to caught up on te northeast for me in recruiting and coaching hires.

Gents, relax - 8 months - time will tell us all we need to know!
I agree with David Hernandez's post earlier - We are CANES FANS, WE LOVE THIS TEAM AND WHAT IT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE - YR IN, YR OUT CONTENDERS - Let's give the new staff a chance - and see...everything else is speculation...none of us know what Golden and Co are going to do...we do know that there's talent everywhere...gotta have some heart and fire to succeed! And support from all sides...good, bad, and ugly...let's just support our CANES!!! GOD BLESS!

I'd rather take a shot with a youn energetic guy who everyone recommends than a retread like Charlie Weis. Take away Brady and Bellichik and what has that old man done?

I dont know if you guys who are defending this guy just start watching football or no nothing about anything other than the football down here in the south but minnesota has had good offensive teams in the recent pass so the fact that he didnt have the talent doesnt matter neither does indiana or northwestern but they still put up good offense he sucks. Further more if you need proof look back a couple of yrs minnesota had a offense with 2 1000 yard rushers on it and a good qb and to good reivers so the talent doesnt matter you can still put up the numbers its cool to be optimistic but give this one a break it looks like he got this one really wrong guess MCnulty shund us again

canes2120 If you don't have the horses, no matter who the coordinator is, you're going NOWHERE. No OC can make Kirby Freeman into Tom Brady, NO MATTER how good he is.

An unproven with a poor track record?...Has Patrick Nix written all over it.
...Bad hire!
Definitely doesn't lend to Holcutt's aforementioned "spare-no-expense" resolve in bringing The U back to prominence!
This hire is already beginning to take some of the luster off of AG!

One year is not a track record.

In all honesty, my initial though was, "Patrick Nicks." My 2nd though was, "How much talent did he have in Minn?" Decker was by far their best player and while he was a damn good college football player, if that's all you have then it's going to be hard to produce anything.

Two interesting points people have brought up:
1) the year before he got to Minn they were running a spread offense. That is a notible fact, just ask Rich Rod
2) UM was 2nd in total offense in the ACC in 2010 and it didn't do us any good, so stats aren't everything.

Regarding the two new coaches from up there. Who cares? No really, who and why should I care? One of them is an unproven head coach while the other was only able to develop a couple of the most talented players in the country into NFL players. Golden took 9 of the most undesired, non-recruited players in the country and turned them into NFL men. So the school from up there payed more for their coaches then we did. Guess what? They always have and they always will. It's all about development and having the best finished product. And guess what? We've always had the best finished product and we always will.

Go Canes!

David,

When it comes to recruiting, it is actually better that TE coach Brennan Carroll Papi keeps playing, AND of course, Coach Jeff Fisch keeps coaching up these Seahawks on Sundays. What would the heck a HS recruit want from an NFL coach winning thru the playoffs? :) Dag, you know THEY would be watching him, lol

But now that I think about it all more and keep hope eternal, the only tiny risk here is in playcalling in the Fall. But then, its not like Al Golden is gonna let egoist oc coach (looking 4 a better gig) run the same predictable plays that'd make the coach seem like a genius while his players were innefective running a complex scheme.

The biggest problem with being stuck with a "system" or your NFL scheme is that in the beginning, your players know it best and can run circles initially on their opponents. But EVENTUALLY, the opposite coaches catch on, then you either totally change up to new schemes (system) or just overpower every team (as whipple did to FAMU) with your same stuff. Well in the NFL, the level is balanced & you can't overpower so you change. As we now know, our former NFL guy OC never adjusted his NFLsystem, while rivals coaches AND players picked it, while our players gutting the shyyt.

I am quite confident that Coach Golden, not on hot seat as Shannon was, would feel no strain to rein in such OC, and/or Bren Carroll would just dial NFL-HC Papito for some fresh materials.

And, we shall remain hopeful and optimistic!

GO CANES

Muschamp was being paid a million per year as Defensive Coordinator. If the U was willing to pay somewhere close to that your talent pool would certainly increase. Not saying that paying more would get you a better OC, I am just saying maybe we didn't have that kind of money left to land a recognizable coach. I will sit back and see how this all unfolds. You never know, if we have the right mesh of coaches and players it might just all finally click!

Come on guys, don't compare the talent at Minn to the talent at the U. Remember also that Golden got the same type of reviews when it was announced that he was going to be the head coach. Fisch was only at Minn for a year if I read that correctly.

"get whipple back"?????? Did you not watch a single Canes game this season? I'd rather not have an OC than have Whipple, he was THE worst on Randy's staff by a mile!

SI.COM TOP 25 FOR 2011..MIAMI Does not even get a whiff

It's way too early to begin predicting where college football teams will finish a year from now, but we all need something to get us through the long, cold weeks between Wes Byrum's national title-winning field goal and National Signing Day. This Top 25 may not look so prescient come September, but it should help kick off the discussion for the 2011 season.

Obviously, several of these situations are fluid. The deadline to declare for the NFL draft is later this week, so several game-changing players will decide their fates in the next few days. (I got caught by this when I wrote my Top 25 for this week's edition of the magazine. Because of print deadlines, I had to read the tea leaves on a few players. While I guessed correctly on most, LSU back Stevan Ridley may leave early and render my synopsis incorrect.)

On to the rankings...

NCAA Football Power Rankings
1
Oklahoma Sooners
Receiver Ryan Broyles and linebacker Travis Lewis are coming back to a team that already had plenty of firepower. Quarterback Landry Jones will play behind a line that returns four starters, and rising sophomore Roy Finch will lead a stable of young backs.

2
Oregon Ducks
This past season was not one of those lightning-in-a-bottle years. The Ducks aren't going anywhere. The construction started with Mike Bellotti, and it continues with Chip Kelly. Oregon is the Pac-12's premier program, and it looks as if that will continue to be the case for the next few years. Oregon will lose three offensive linemen and two linebackers, but the Ducks have recruited well. Leading rusher LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Thomas are back. So is cornerback/return man Cliff Harris.

3
LSU Tigers
Cornerback Patrick Peterson and tailback Ridley may be gone, but LSU will still bring back nine starters on offense and seven on defense. As the Cotton Bowl win against Texas A&M proved, Spencer Ware can also carry the football a little. LSU's offense should improve this offseason. Combine that with its defense, and you have a national title contender.

4
Alabama Crimson Tide
The Crimson Tide lost a lot. Tailback Mark Ingram, receiver Julio Jones and defensive end Marcell Dareus have moved on to the NFL. Given the level of talent Coach Nick Saban has brought into the program, Alabama is going to have to deal with similar losses every season. Assuming safety Mark Barron returns, Alabama will bring back nine defensive starters. On offense, backs Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy should be able to replace Ingram's production. A.J. McCarron has the inside track to replace Greg McElroy at quarterback, but don't count out redshirt freshman Phillip Sims.

5
Stanford Cardinal
The Cardinal lost a coach but kept a quarterback. Things could have been a lot worse. If Cam Newton leaves Auburn for the NFL, Luck will enter the season as college football's best player and the presumptive Heisman Trophy favorite. Whether he stays that way will depend on an offensive line that must replace four starters.

6
Ohio St. Buckeyes
Yes, quarterback Terrelle Pryor has to sit out the first five games because of an NCAA suspension. But the Buckeyes always play good defense, and they have a stable of young tailbacks who can fill in for Boom Herron -- who is suspended for those five games but who also may turn pro. Remember the name Rod Smith. Smith is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound tailback from Fort Wayne, Ind., who redshirted in 2010. He is already earning comparisons to former Buckeye Beanie Wells, and that bodes well for the future of the offense.

7
Texas A&M Aggies
The Aggies got thrashed by LSU in the Cotton Bowl, but that shouldn't obscure the fact that this is one of the most intriguing teams in the nation. Texas A&M languished in 2010 before Coach Mike Sherman moved Ryan Tannehill from receiver to quarterback. All of a sudden, the Aggies could beat anyone in the Big 12. As freshman, offensive tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews provided a reason to believe the offense could be good for a while. On defense, coordinator Tim DeRuyter turned around a group that had been porous. Even without star pass rusher Von Miller, the Aggies should still get better on that side of the ball thanks to another offseason with DeRuyter.

8
TCU Horned Frogs
It's tough to believe now that in the spring of 2009, there were some who thought Andy Dalton might be unseated at quarterback by then-freshman Casey Pachall. Given Dalton's performance over the past two seasons, that must mean Pachall is pretty good. If he can keep the offense moving, linebackers Tank Carder and Tanner Brock should ensure the Horned Frogs keep punishing opponents on defense in TCU's final season in a non-AQ conference.

9
South Carolina Gamecocks
Sorry, Gamecocks, but you get to be the trendy outside-the-power-structure SEC pick for this season. That didn't work so well for Ole Miss in 2009, but Arkansas ended up in the Sugar Bowl in 2010. It will be interesting to see how South Carolina handles lofty expectations. With tailback Marcus Lattimore and receiver Alshon Jeffery coming back, South Carolina should be picked to repeat as SEC East champion.

10
Florida St. Seminoles
Quarterback Christian Ponder and offensive linemen Rodney Hudson and Ryan McMahon are gone. Pretty much everyone else is back. The offense will be led by quarterback E.J. Manuel, who has had plenty of seasoning as Ponder's injury replacement in 2009 and 2010. On defense, FSU has a glut of talent at linebacker led by Nigel Bradham.

11
Boise St. Broncos
It only seems as if a vast majority of Boise State's roster has been playing since the Clinton administration because so many of these players started as freshmen. The Broncos still bring back seven starters from last year's defense, and quarterback Kellen Moore will be back for his fourth year as the starter. He won't have receivers Austin Pettis and Titus Young, but Moore will be able to lean on tailback Doug Martin.

12
Nebraska Cornhuskers
Defensive tackle Jared Crick gave Nebraska a huge boost when he elected to return for his senior season. When Ndamukong Suh made the same choice between the 2008 and 2009 seasons he was, like Crick, highly regarded but not a household name. We all know what happened after that. Crick and linebacker Lavonte David should lead a group that might be the Big Ten's best defense.

13
Missouri Tigers
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert's early departure to the NFL will pave the way for the start of the James Franklin era in Columbia. Like the transition from Chase Daniel to Gabbert, the move from Gabbert to Franklin should go smoothly. The change shouldn't cause Tigers fans to start sweating on their slices of Shakespeare's Pizza.

14
Auburn Tigers
Because this is the Internet, I'm covered here. If quarterback Cam Newton shocks the world and announces he'll return for another year in the Loveliest Village on the Plains, I'll adjust these rankings and move Auburn into the top five. Newton is that good. Which is also why the Tigers will end up down here if he turns pro. Tailback Michael Dyer should be a star, but it's tough to believe the offense will be anywhere near as dynamic without Newton.

15
Wisconsin Badgers
Backs James White and Montee Ball return along with three-fifths of a bulldozing offensive line, but the losses of defensive end J.J. Watt and quarterback Scott Tolzein will be tough to overcome. Now, we'll see how good of a program builder Coach Bret Bielema is.

16
Michigan St. Spartans
Quarterback Kirk Cousins and tailback Edwin Baker lead a large group of returning starters that should keep the Spartans competing for the Big Ten title. After laying an egg against Alabama in the Capital One Bowl, Michigan State has a lot to prove in the first season of the new-look Big Ten.

17
Arkansas Razorbacks
Quarterback Ryan Mallett is gone to the NFL, but consider this: We learned by season's end that Auburn's defense was quite good. In relief of Mallett at Jordan-Hare Stadium, heir apparent Tyler Wilson torched the Tigers for 332 passing yards and four touchdowns. Wilson is ready, and he'll go into the season knowing tailback Knile Davis can carry the load on the ground.

18
Oklahoma St. Cowboys
Coach Mike Gundy is waiting on the NFL decisions of receiver Justin Blackmon and quarterback Brandon Weeden before he hires a new offensive coordinator. Gundy should know the answer in the next few days, and we'll also know whether the Cowboys belong this low or if they should be bumped up because of the return of their two offensive stars.

Update: Blackmon and Weeden are returning in 2011

19
Virginia Tech Hokies
Linebacker Bruce Taylor and cornerback Jayron Hosley should lead coordinator Bud Foster's always-solid defense. The questions will be on offense, where Logan Thomas will take over at quarterback for Tyrod Taylor and backs Ryan Williams and Darren Evans have left early for the NFL. The good news is that the Hokies return four starting offensive linemen, including All-ACC selections Jaymes Brooks and Blake DeChristopher.

20
West Virginia Mountaineers
Quarterback Geno Smith should benefit most from the arrival of offensive coordinator/coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen. Thanks to Smith's arm and a stable of fast young receivers, the Mountaineers may transition to more of an air-it-out offense. On defense, coordinator Jeff Casteel will have to replace a lot, but he will have freakishly fast defensive end Bruce Irvin rushing the opposing quarterback.

21
Georgia Bulldogs
The Bulldogs have got to begin climbing back toward the top of the rankings, or the administration's patience with Coach Mark Richt will evaporate. The Bulldogs simply have too much talent to keep foundering. If Newton doesn't come back to Auburn, the Bulldogs' Aaron Murray might be the best returning starter at quarterback in the SEC. Even if linebacker Justin Houston decides to turn pro, Georgia returns most of its defense. The Bulldogs have got to be good this year.

22
Mississippi St. Bulldogs
Mississippi State lost Manny Diaz to Texas, but co-defensive coordinator Chris Wilson should have plenty of tools. The Bulldogs bring back their starting secondary and defensive tackles Fletcher Cox and Josh Boyd. On offense, Coach Dan Mullen will have some continuity. Quarterback Chris Relf is back after a marked improvement in 2010, and tailback Vick Ballard should give the Bulldogs a legitimate ground threat.

23
Arizona St. Sun Devils
Arizona State brings back a whopping 20 starters from a team that was a play or two away from wins against Wisconsin, USC and Stanford. Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone will have to choose between Steven Threet and Brock Osweiler at quarterback, but both are good options.

24
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
On paper, the Fighting Irish look loaded -- especially after receiver Michael Floyd announced Wednesday that he would return for his senior season. But Notre Dame has not lived up to preseason promise for a long time, so we'll keep the expectations low. Still, don't be shocked if Coach Brian Kelly keeps the momentum going from a strong finish in 2010.

25
Utah Utes
The Pac-12 South division is going to be wide-open in 2011, and the Utes will bring plenty of talent into their new conference. Quarterback Jordan Wynn should fit right into a league known for excellent signal-callers.


Jedd! Jethro! Head down to the cement pond and fetch granny back. Darn gator down there pulled her under.

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