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The Luther College staff takes a polar plunge, challenges the rest of the IIAC to do the same

The Luther College coaching staff was challenged to take a polar plunge, and like all good men they not only answered the call, they filmed it as well. 

The Norse staff found a naturally fed pond at Twin Springs, which they claimed houses the coldest waters in the state of Iowa. Each coach survived, but there was one casualty. Defensive line coach/head strength coach Ike Hammerly lost his glasses in the 33-degree waters of Twin Springs, and they were never recovered.

Now the Luther staff has issued a formal challenge to the rest of the Division III Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to do the same. Are they man enough? Only time will tell. 

Kliff Kingsbury has a coaching model, and it's not a football coach

Kliff Kingsbury grew up in New Braunfels, Texas, a city of 60,000 people lying 30 miles north of San Antonio. Growing up in the halcyon days of David Robinson, he naturally became a fan of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs and, growing up the son of a coach, he naturally gravitated toward the Spurs' general manager-turned-head coach, Gregg Popovich.

 Now, as a coach himself, he watches Popovich and wonders how he can become college football's version of Pop.

“I watch the Spurs quite a bit, and Coach Pop just fascinates me,” Kingsbury told Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News. “They had some guy named (Patty) Mills who popped up and scored 26 points the other night."

Under Popovich, the Spurs spent the first half of the last decade as a defensive-minded team and a plodding offense centered around Tim Duncan. But as point guard Tony Parker matured, the Spurs' attack became more free-flowing, and now Popovich's team moves the ball better than any in basketball.

As a football coach who prides himself on putting the ball in as many hands as possible, the similarities are obvious.

“Coach Popovich is able to develop things like that all of the time. They just win, and it's incredible. He stays undercover and never gets the love he probably deserves. He doesn't want it. He just wins.”

As for Kingsbury himself? He may not be at the level of an 18-year veteran and four-time champion, but he's miles ahead of where he was at this time last year.

“The biggest thing is you have to find ways to stay consistent,” Kingsbury said. “That was the hardest thing for me last year, especially with the way our season went. I'm trying to do that more this year, make sure the team and the coaches can feel that consistency from me in everything we're doing.”

Read the full piece here.

Here's a great look at why Mike Riley hired John Garrett as OC

Mike Riley has spent a total of 13 years in Corvallis at Oregon State during two separate stints. That kind of longevity is unheard of in the coaching profession today.

That kind of longevity has provided Riley a pulse for what his program needs at Oregon State when he makes a hire, and when offensive coordinator Danny Longsdorf decided to take the quarterbacks job with the NY Giants, many expected Riley to make a "splash hire." They were just coming off a season where Junior quarterback Sean Mannion threw for over 4,600 yards and completed over 66% of his passes with 37 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

As you can see, they didn't need someone to come in and perform a complete offensive overhaul, they needed a quality offensive coach.

That's when Riley was reminded by a coaching colleague of NFL veteran coach John Garrett, whom he immediately called and set up and interview. After talking equal parts ball, philosophy, and life, Riley knew he had found his guy.

Garrett, who was coaching the receivers with the Bucs last season and has been in the NFL ranks since 2007, wasn't one of the "big fish" out there available on the coaching market, but Riley knew he was getting an excellent coach to come in and coordinate his offense.

This video of coach Garrettt mic'd up during spring ball provides some great insight into the type of coach Riley brought on board. Garrettt is very detail oriented, and extremely enthusiastic on the practice field. Combine that with his NFL pedigree and knowledge of what Riley wants done on the offensive side of the ball and we could see a very potent offense on the field in a few months when they open up with Portland State and Hawaii.

Check out how Boise State is learning from their helmet cam footage

Helmet cams, especially the built in kind, have popped up in programs all around the country this off season, which has prompted the discussion of how staff's will go about using that footage.

Here, Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick and safety Darian Thompson give a play by play of some of their practice footage and what is going through their mind as the film rolls.

Coaches we talk to have raved about how the footage shows if their guys are reading the correct keys on each play, and now we finally have footage we can cue up in the film room to verify literally everything. Especially at the quarterback and safety positions because if the eyes aren't on the right keys at that position, it's going to nearly impossible to be productive and successful.

Photos: New uniforms at Illinois, where they take orange seriously

Not to be outdone by the other orange-and-blue, Nike-repped team in the northern half of the United States, Illinois also unveiled new uniforms on Wednesday.

Let's start with the new block "I" logo, which doesn't look all that different to me.

11 block I

Next, an upper body shot of the new football uniforms. As a point of reference, here's what the Illini wore in 2013.

11 Illinois 1

Here's a live action shot of all three kits and, boy, are those orange uniforms orange. I'm not even sure they'll need to turn the lights on for night games at Memorial Stadium because I'm almost positive they can glow in the dark.

11 Illinois 2

My personal favorite, the all whites.

11 Illinois white

And now a shot of the three helmets.

11 Illinois helmets

Nike has done an rebranding of the entire athletics department, as they did with California and Oregon State in 2013. For a team-by-team look, check out the @IlliniAthletics feed.

Hud throwing up 370 with ease

370. Just another day at the office for Hud #Boom

NCAA approves new roughing the passer penalty for shots below the knee

In what has become a busy news week for the NCAA, the organization's Rules Oversight Panel approved a new rule today offering additional protection for quarterbacks.

The new rule states that a defender rushing unabated at a quarterback may not forcibly strike a quarterback in the act of throwing at or below the knee. Essentially, it's the Tom Brady Rule, which the NFL adopted after Brady's 2008 season was ended in Week 1 after a shot below his knee tore his ACL and MCL. 

There are exceptions to the rule, like:

1) When the passer becomes a runner, either inside or outside the pocket
2) The defender wraps up the thrower in an attempt to make a tackle
3) The defender is not rushing unabated, or he is blocked into the thrower

Essentially, a defender with a free shot at a quarterback in the act of throwing had better aim for the chest, waist or thigh or his team will be hit with a 15-yard personal foul penalty.

Love it or hate it, the powers that be are moving to legislate enough protection for quarterbacks as the rule book will allow. 

The Football Rules Committee passed the rule by a unanimous vote, and the NCAA notes that "surveys of college football coaches indicate support of the new rule among head coaches."

You might never see a play like this again in your lifetime

In the world of football, the one-point safety is the equivalent of Big Foot, the chupacabra and Captain Ahab's white whale all rolled into one. It's talked about, but rarely seen. 

It most recently occurred in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl, when Oregon notched the ultra-rare scoring play in its 35-17 defeat of Kansas State. Before that, Texas registered a one-point safety in a 26-13 win over Texas A&M in 2004. Beyond that, no one can pinpoint any other examples.

We had another one this season, this time in Division III, and we now have video of the play. And it's crazier than the other two examples combined.

Division III Bluffton (Ohio) utilized a one-point safety to engineer a 24-17 upset of then-No. 9 Franklin (Ind.), snapping the Grizzlies' 31-game conference winning streak. Franklin had to go well out of its way to make it happen, advancing the ball nearly to the 15-yard line before an ill-advised lateral saw the ball tumbled all the way back to the end zone.

Statistically speaking, we could see American football continue unchanged for the next 150 years and never see a play like this repeated.