Starting up 2012 spring football Wednesday: Auburn Tigers, Colorado St. Rams, Houston Cougars, Iowa Hawkeyes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisville Cardinals, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, South Florida Bulls and Wyoming Cowboys. Thus. we've had 18 schools start up spring football in the last two days. It's almost like it's actually spring now!
This is a mighty transition-y group, with new head coaches (Jim McElwain at CSU and Tony Levine at Houston), new coordinators (two each at Auburn and Iowa, plus a new OC at Notre Dame), a hot seat (Joker Philips at Kentucky), realignment rumors (Louisville to the Big 12 -- any minute now!), and even Skip Holtz showing up in coaching carousel rumors. Wyoming, you're rock solid.
Notre Dame also has the task of finding a full-time quarterback, with Kansas transfer Dayne Crist no longer in the picture. Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix split duties last year, but top freshman quarterback Gunner Kiel and Everett Golson could challenge for the starting gig. And don't you dare call Brian Kelly anything but a one-man man:
Asked if there was a chance he would use two quarterbacks instead of one this season, Kelly said he would prefer to have one guy who he can give a big hug to when he comes off the field after a touchdown.
Things are different (but not all that different) for the first time in a long time at Iowa, where longtime assistant Phil Parker takes over for the retired Norm Parker as defensive coordinator, and Ken O'Keefe-like coordinator Greg Davis fills in for Ken O'Keefe. Kirk Ferentz doesn't mind the remodeling:
"We really needed to just take things apart here a little bit and look a little closer,'' Ferentz said. "It's given us a chance really to go back and examine everything we're doing on both sides of the football.''
Auburn, meanwhile, replaces new Arkansas State coach Gus Malzahn with Scot Loeffler from the Temple Owls. Loeffler's two years as Florida's quarterbacks coach have been touted to the heavens as a sure sign that he's SEC-ready. The Tigers' defense gets a boost by replacing Ted Roof with former Atlanta Falcons coordinator Brian VanGorder, who's definitely SEC-ready -- from 2001 to 2004, he led the Georgia Bulldogs to perhaps the best streak of defenses in their history.