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Enfield Bolts for USC, Barkley/Smith Dilemma

After spending a few rounds as one of this year’s Big Dance Cinderellas, FGCU coach Andy Enfield is ready for bigger and maybe better things as he’s accepted the head USC basketball coaching gig.

Is his exit surprising? No.

Is the timing? Maybe.

FGCU coach Andy Enfield

FGCU coach Andy Enfield

Enfield spent two seasons at the once unknown FGCU. Season No. 2 was big as the team was first #15 seed to see the Sweet 16 after defeating #2 Georgetown and #7 San Diego State.

For the coach, it gave him a ticket to trade up in his career and his salary. In his FGCU tenure, the team went 41-28, including a school record of 26 wins for the 2012-2013 season. While at FGCU aka “Dunk City,” Enfield made $150,000 annually in the Atlantic Sun conference and in his new Pac-12 role, according to different media reports, he’s now looking at more than $1 million a year.

The coach said of his USC opportunity in a statement, “In meeting with Pat Haden, I was very impressed with his vision for the men’s basketball program. I am looking forward to bringing an exciting, up-tempo style of play to USC and building the men’s basketball brand into one that the fans and basketball community will enjoy and respect.”

Enfield will follow in the footsteps of former USC coach Kevin O’Neill, who had been fired by the team in January with his 48-65 record over 3½ years. This included last year’s 6-26 season–a school record for the greatest number of losses.

USC last went to the NCAA tournament in 2011 and their best Big Dance years came in 2001 and 2007.

Enfield will have his hands full in this football-loving school but he seems like he’s always game for a new challenge.

Meanwhile, looking ahead to this weekend’s Final Four, #1 Louisville is 2 to 3 to win it all with Russ Smith 4 to 5 to win the Most Outstanding Player award.

Geno Smith vs. Matt Barkley

After last year’s great rookie quarterback class, 2013 isn’t following in its footsteps. At the top of this year’s conversation is West Virginia’s Geno Smith and USCs Matt Barkley.

Both entered the 2012 season with high expectations including Heisman runs but by November, they had exited the conversation. Now they’re back, looking to make the leap to the NFL.

The players have been undergoing private workouts with Barkley meeting with the Buffalo Bills on Monday and Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Geno Smith

Geno Smith

Entering these workouts, Smith brings a 4.56-second, 40 from this year’s combine and 60 for 64 in passes from his March 14 pro day. Last season, he led the nation with his 42 touchdown passes.

Barkley, who missed the combine, tried to redeem himself at his pro day, going 55 for 60 passing.

Many think Smith has a leg up on Barkley but on Monday, Smith got thrown under the bus.

Draft expert Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly, who did the same thing two years ago with then NFL wannabe Cam Newton, wrote of Smith in a scathing scouting report:

Not a student of the game.  Nonchalant field presence — does not command respect from teammates and cannot inspire.  Mild practice demeanor — no urgency.  Not committed or focused — marginal work ethic.  Interviewed poorly at the Combine and did not show an understanding of concepts on the white board.”

There’s more: “Smith is a gimmick, overhyped product of the system lacking the football savvy, work habits and focus to cement a starting job and could drain energy from a QB room.”

He predicted Smith as a Top-50 pick vs. Barkley as a first-rounder.

This may leave you with the question, “Is a problem quarterback personality really a deal breaker? (see Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Cam Newton).

Probably not.

Regardless where they land, it is unlikely to be with the San Francisco 49ers who sit at 7 to 1 to win the 2014 Super Bowl.




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