Friday, November 10, 2006

Is Pat Hill a Great FOOTBALL Coach?

I have heard many people who support Pat Hill day in and day out including every single news station in Fresno. I will agree that he has been a great asset to this community with respect to academics and the national picture. I will also agree that for many years he led the Bulldogs to play a style of football we had not seen before here at Fresno State. However, if you look at the title of this blog I am not asking if Pat Hill is a great overall coach, instead I am asking if he is a great football coach. I do not feel with respect to football that coach Hill is necessarily good and most certainly is not great. Instead I feel like Hill has done an average job over the past ten years at Fresno State.

When Pat Hill first arrived he took over a team that was for all purposes technically on life support. The Bulldogs had endured some awful seasons at the end of Jim Sweeney's career and looked to be going absolutely no where. Pat Hill stepped in and revived this team sending them to a bowl game seven years in a row starting with the Las Vegas Bowl behind Billy Volek. Hill brought the idea to the forefront that the Bulldogs should be a national player with respect to college football. Soon the Bulldogs began beating BCS teams and looking to play anyone, anywhere, anytime. Hill led Fresno State to wins over Wisconsin, Oregon State, and Colorado to begin the 2001 season and for the first time in recent memory the Bulldogs had become a household name across the nation. Unfortunately we all know how that season ended and the following five seasons have all run the same tragic route. But did Pat Hill actually lead this team to these great wins, or is it all smoke and mirrors that in the end are fooling the nation into believing Hill has accomplished much more than he truly has?

When you take a look at our Big BCS wins we have only beaten one team that finished the season ranked: Colorado in 2001. Wisconsin fell apart, as did Oregon State in 2001. Washington and Kansas State were horrible teams in 2004 with Washington going 1-11 with a win over San Jose State. While many believe Hill to be a great coach I tend to see things quite differently. Since David Carr left the Bulldogs offense has turned into a predictable run first offense that lacks creativity. Year after year it does not matter who the offensive coordinator is, the Bulldogs run, run, and they run some more. If the plan doesn't work it does not matter, the Dogs continue to run without hesitating. Pat Hill does not make adjustments to what the offense and defense of the other teams are doing. If the Dogs were to come out in a cover 2 defense with little blitzing that is exactly what they would do the entire game. If the offense was going to come out with a run first mentality then that is what they would do the entire game regardless of the score. Making adjustments to the other team's strengths and weaknesses is what makes a coach great. Last night Greg Schiano (The coach of Rutgers) devised a scheme in the second half that held Louisville scoreless. The reason this happened is because Schiano adjusted the way the team played in the second half and did all he could to pressure Brohm into throwing the ball earlier than he wanted to. The result: Rutgers comes back from 18 down to beat Louisville 28-25. To me that is a great coach. To me that is not what Pat Hill is today.

To further prove my point let me use Arkansas as an example. USC pounded Arkansas to begin the season 50-14. Since that day the Hogs are 9-0 and in first place in the SEC with a shot at a BCS game. Why did Arkansas rebound from the USC loss so well while Fresno State has fallen apart since we lost a close one to the Trojans? Because Arkansas used the USC game as a springboard for the rest of the season. Arkansas knows how great of a team USC is and has built on that loss. How many times have you heard Pat Hill use the excuse that the Dogs just suffered a post USC letdown because they had nothing left to play for? I am tired of hearing that reason to justify a four game losing streak to end the 2005 season. If Pat Hill were a great coach he would not have let a season slip away like he did last season. Just so everyone knows, the Bulldogs had plenty to play for after the USC loss, and here is what I mean by that. If the Dogs had defeated Nevada, La Tech, and Tulsa they would have finished the season 11-2 and in the top 12 in the nation. This year they would have began the season in a much better position with some momentum. Unfortunately that did not happen because Pat Hill said the Bulldogs played for everything that night when they lost to USC and there was nothing left to play for after.

Now I understand how many of you can support Pat Hill because the times of Bulldog football before him were not necessarily the greatest. But I keep hearing a question along the lines of: Who would do better at Fresno State? Well my question to all of you readers is this: Better than what? All we need to do is find a coach that leads us to wins over bad WAC teams and occasionally beats a mid to bottom tier BCS team. At the same time if this new coach allows us to endure a losing streak of at least three games a season then he will fit right in. So you honestly don't feel there is a coach out there that could do the same job Pat Hill is doing right now? The academic game plan is already in place. If a new coach came in that plan would not get scrapped and the academics would be fine. It is now time to focus on football. What is best for the Bulldogs football program is finding a leader the team wants to play for. The best thing for the team is finding a man who will change things up and makes the adjustments needed to give his team a chance to win. The Bulldogs have the talent to win this year and aren't doing so. You can't tell me it is the players who are failing week in and week out. When you lose three games in a row and all of them are blowouts something is wrong with the system. I am sure I will receive quite a bit of disagreement with respect to my opinion on Pat Hill but he has gone his course. It is time to move on and find the next Bulldog leader.


Anonymous said...

nsc, you are absolutely right. If Hill were at any pac 10, big 12 or big 10 program he would be gone right after the end of the season if not sooner. The players can read right through his BS. It is very true that Hill depends on game time emotion rather than game preperation. Hill and his staff can never make game time adjustments. Hill and his staff look just as confused as the players. A change is needed.

Anonymous said...

nsc, you are absolutely right. If Hill were at any pac 10, big 12 or big 10 program he would be gone right after the end of the season if not sooner. The players can read right through his BS. It is very true that Hill depends on game time emotion rather than game preperation. Hill and his staff can never make game time adjustments. Hill and his staff look just as confused as the players. A change is needed.

Anonymous said...


1) has a GREAT eye for talent
2) is a GREAT motivator
3) is a GREAT visionary

However, Hill is only a GOOD coach, NOT a great one. His game time preparation is mediocre at best. He and his staff also lack the ability to make adjustments during the game which is why we have lost so many games this year. They also seem to underestimate the opponent’s ability to compete and exploit our weaknesses.


nathanp2112 said...

Nothing but a bunch of're the same people who were singing Hill's praises 3,4,5 years ago, now you think he's the anti-Christ. You have to endure the bad years with the good. Hill has been a tremendous asset to the community, the program, and the university, and we are fortunate to have kept him around as long as we have.

No worries for you, though, he wil be gone within a few years once his kids graduate from high will at that time that you people will figure out that you don't know what you've got until it's gone.

I think I'll stick to real bloggers who really get 'it'. Anyone who wants to do the same should check out the 'M Zone'. That guy knows what he's talking about.

Anonymous said...

There are many of us who have not praised Hill in the past 3,4,5 years. What is there to praise him about? A WAC championship? Wins over La Tech? Wins over Utah ST.? hILL IS AN AVERAGE COACH AT BEST. If Hill gets rid of DC Brown the Clown, Brown might get hired by some winless high school team at best. Don't be afraid!! A change can make a big difference.

Anonymous said...

Nathan, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but so is everyone else. I did support PH in those early years because of the positives he was bringing to our moribund football program. However, every CEO of any entity faces this reality: What got you to the top won't keep you at the top.

PH makes--he used to earn--$1,300,000.00 annually. His ability to justify this amount has not been made manifest in a long time. He and his staff have proven unable to prepare the team for week-in, week-out winning (focusing instead on emotionalism and "big games"), make game-time adjustments on either side of the ball, and have been outcoached consistently by men with lessor talent on their teams.

As other CEO's have found, they take their organization as far as they can, and then it is time to bring on the next tier of management. When your salary is over a million dollars, that is the league you are in.

Steve Burnes

Anonymous said...

Howdy Pat Hill
Great games lately. Beating UCLA was a dream come true.

One thing I noticed.

I'm seeing arm and high body tackles. What ever happened to bringing the man down with a good leg and ankle tackles? It may be old fashioned and old school, but it works. If a man has to hang onto the ball with both hands to keep from dropping it, teach that.
We don't want stylish, we want a win. Hawaii carried the ball tight.

I want to see you win them all.

Stylecoach said...

Hill, is really a nice coach. He has a very great potential in the field of coaching. Thank you for posting.

Anonymous said...

I've been a fan at Fresno State for over 29 years and have never experinced such humilation as yesterday's 51-nothing blowout. Hill's coaching lacks imagination and innovation to be successful at D-1 level. His smash-mouth style of football has passed him by. It's time to do something different or retire. No team in the country should beat another that bad. I'm done buying tickets! I think the rest of the valley feels the same.