Saturday, November 30, 2019

Been There And Done That

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTO BY CANDY EBLING

Prior to the game between the Florida Atlantic Owls and Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, one of my followers asked whether Owls Coach Lane Kiffin would leave to take a more high profile job.

I told him that it’s possible but Kiffin can afford to be selective of his next gig.

In 2017, the former USC-head coach led FAU to an 11-3 record and the Owls trounced Akron 50-3 in the Boca Raton Bowl. The Owls were Conference USA Champions, even appearing in the AP Top 25 rankings for one week.


The 2018 season saw FAU finish with a 5-7 mark and it missed a bowl game.

As the 2019 season concludes, chalk up another successful season for Kiffin and his Owls.

The Owls defeated Southern Mississippi 34-17. The game was televised nationally on the NFL Network. FAU won The Conference USA East Division title. The exposure was priceless.

They'll face the University of Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday at 1:30 PM in The Conference USA Title Game at FAU Stadium.

On Saturday, Former Green Bay Packers Hall Of Fame QB Brett Favre wasn’t in the building to lead his Alma-Mater.

But how has Kiffin managed to compile a pair of winning seasons at a mid major university?

1. He gives fresh starts to players at major universities such as QB red-shirt sophomore Chris Robison, who played at Oklahoma before being dismissed for disciplinary reasons. Robison has been Kiffin’s biggest reclamation project thus far during his tenure at FAU.

2. He knows the value of Social Media and takes full advantage of as he has 434,400 followers on Twitter.

3. His offense is real good. The team has eclipsed 30 points in nine of it’s games. FAU gave the Ohio State Buckeyes a battle by losing the opener 45-21.

4. FAU has amassed 300 or more yards in 11 of its 12 contests.

5. Against Southern Mississippi, FAU forced five turnovers and just committed one.

The coaching carrousel has already begun.

Florida State, Arkansas and Missouri are Power Five Schools looking for new coaches. You can rest assure, this is just the beginning of many more job openings.

Will Kiffin, who has head coaching stops at USC, Tennessee and the Oakland Raiders be ready to leave a university which at the rate he’s going being a Big Fish in a Little Pond eventually erect a statue for him outside of FAU Stadium?

Time will tell.

Will Kiffin follow the likes of Butch Davis (FIU) and Frank Solich (Ohio University) and coached at Nebraska along with Miami, North Carolina be happy to stay put, thus putting them in the been there and done that category?

I’ll be curious to see how this plays out.

But with Bowl Season upon us, this is the time when coaches do jump ship and take the greener pasture jobs and as a result, interim coaches audition for opportunities to be permanent coaches. Will the coaches take the money and run or stay put and be happy?

One thing is for certain, Kiffin is earning close to $1 Million annually in an area where there is no state income tax and his father Monte Kiffin is on his staff.

Life isn’t all bad coaching football in paradise in the Sunshine State.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottbm33@gmail.com and is the Owner of the South Florida Tribune & Broadcasting Network.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

A Sea Of Red

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

It wasn’t long ago that when the Detroit Red Wings visited Sunrise, FL., that there were many close games that even went into overtime’s or shootouts.

Watching Panthers future Hall of Fame Goaltender Roberto Luongo face 40 shots a game was always a treat witnessing greatness as it’s inevitable that his No.1 Jersey will eventually be hanging in the rafters at the BB&T Center.

In Detroit, the No.1 Jersey resides in the rafters at Little Caesar’s Arena.

As the Red Wings rebuild continues, these franchises appear to be headed in different directions.

Going into tonight’s clash in South Florida, the Panthers had a 6-3-4 mark with 16 points. Meanwhile, the Red Wings were 4-9-1 with nine points.

The Panthers hired Stanley Cup Championship Coach Joel Quenneville while Jeff Blashill remains at the helm for Detroit.

Florida leads the all-time series 20-17-5-6 and are 4-0-1 collecting points in each of the last five contests.

In 2018-19, Florida won the season series 3-0-1.

Florida’s last win against Detroit occurred on March 10, 2019 by hammering the Red Wings 6-1 in Sunrise.

Unfortunately, Saturday Night wouldn’t be much better as Florida skated to a dominant performance by outshooting the Red Wings 41-22 en route to a 4-0 shutout win as the rubber rats were thrown on the ice which is a Panthers tradition after a win.

Luongo’s replacement Sergei Bobrovsky, who signed as a free agent in the off-season improved his record to 6-2-3 while Red Wings netminder Jonathan Bernier dropped to 2-4-1.

The shutout was the first for Bobrovsky as a Panther and his 34th of his career.

Left-winger Jonathon Huberdeau led the Panthers with two goals defenseman Anton Stralman recorded 200th career assist. Huberdeau has nine goals for the season.

The Panthers have won five of seven to move to 7-3-4, their best 14-game start since 1996-97, when they opened 9-1-4.

On Friday Night in Carolina in a 7-3 loss to the Hurricanes in Raleigh, Bernier replaced starter Jimmy Howard.

In the past two games in South Florida, the Red Wings have been outscored 10-1 by Florida and dejected Blashill was well aware that it hasn’t been very pleasant.

“ No it hasn’t,” Blashill said. “They kicked our ass. They’re a good team. There are a lot of good teams out there. If we compete like crazy and still lose, it’s one thing. We didn’t compete like crazy. We need to find a way to compete better.”

Meanwhile, the Red Wings fell to 1-9-1 in their past 11 games.

Thankfully for the Red Wings, they have 48 hours to think about this loss as the Nashville Predators come town.

Detroit returns to The Sunshine State on December 28-29 to face these Panthers and GM Steve Yzerman’s old club the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottbm33@gmail.com.

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