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Baer decides not to pursue Utah State job

Matt Lozar | Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The way Irish interim head coach Kent Baer explained the Utah State situation showed how difficult a decision it was.

Baer’s parents live five minutes from the campus. His son, granddaughter and four sisters live there as well. He played college football for the Aggies and coached there for nine years.

But for Baer to take a head coach position, it had to be about more than personal connections.

“After looking at the situation, my emotional heart and my personal heart was into it because that’s where I’m from,” Baer said. “But my professional heart just didn’t seem like the right thing for me to do right now. I’d love to be a head coach someday. I want to make sure it’s the right situation. I don’t want to be a head coach just to be a head coach. So, again, it was just a gut feeling.”

Baer wasn’t satisfied when the school couldn’t commit to future plans concerning upgrades to the locker room, meeting rooms and weight room.

When the school asked Baer if we would accept the job if it was offered, he said no.

Baer met with Utah State in Arizona the second time after meeting them in Los Angeles on the first go-around.

Utah State announced Brent Guy as its new head coach Friday.

Beavers a streaking team

After a 1-4 start, the Beavers have won five of their last six games to become bowl-eligible after defeating Oregon 50-21 on Nov. 20 in the annual ‘Civil War” game between the two teams.

The hot finish to the season reminds Baer of the 1996 Stanford team that won its final four regular season games before defeating Michigan State 38-0 in the Sun Bowl.

“[They’ve] won four out of the last five or five out of the last six. So, we might be playing one of the hottest teams in the country. We’re playing a team that’s pretty hungry,” Baer said. “They’re really a talented football team and we’re going to have our hands full.

It’s going to be a challenge. Our guys are excited to play them.”

The impressive statistic about Oregon State’s five losses – LSU, Boise State, Arizona State, California and USC – is those all came against teams currently ranked in the Associated Press top 25 and all five are playing in bowl games.

Parish continues to practice at cornerback

After making his starting debut at cornerback against Southern California Nov. 27, Freddie Parish will continue to see time at the cornerback position in bowl practice as well as get repetitions at his customary safety position.

“Freddie did an excellent job for us that day. It’s really just a tough situation to get him in, get him all the looks,” Baer said. “But I thought for the most part, he did a great job. I know they gave us some looks, especially in the passing game that he hadn’t seen, that we hadn’t practiced. I thought for the most part he did well.”

Baer wouldn’t say whether Parish would get his second start of the season at corner in the bowl game.

Team hopes to get players healthy for bowl

Baer didn’t have a lengthy injury update list on Friday. He said defensive end Justin Tuck should be okay and that Maurice Stovall, who has been battling an ankle injury this season, should be fine once the Irish get to Phoenix.

Coming out of the USC game, the Irish had some players beat up. Baer said he will hold some back in practice so they’re ready for Oregon State.

Practice schedule

Baer said the Irish will practice today, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before the players go home for a few days.

The team will reconvene in Phoenix on Dec. 22.