Inside Herb Hand's journey up the job ladder
Herb Hand's introduction to James Franklin could not have been more poetic.
As the story goes, brand new Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin flipped on the lights to his new locker room at 5 a.m. one morning to find Herb Hand sleeping on the couch. Hand had just completed his first season as Vanderbilt's offensive line coach when head coach Robbie Caldwell was let go. With his family still in Tulsa and nowhere to go when he wasn't on the road recruiting, Hand turned the Commodores' locker room into his own one bedroom apartment.
The sight of this bulking line coach sleeping on a couch endeared Hand to Franklin, enough that Franklin retained him. And now, three years later, Franklin has brought Hand along with him to Penn State.
Bleacher Report lead writer and friend of the site Adam Kramer profiled Hand's rise through the ranks as a college football assistant on Wednesday. In a career closing in on the 25-year mark, Penn State is Hand's 11th stop; a typical number for coaches with a similar amount of years in the game.
There probably isn't a lot of new information in here, especially for those of who whose path parallels Hand's, but for those reading this still sleeping on your proverbial locker room couch, let this be a sign of encouragement to keep on pushing.
See how Kurt Roper runs his offensive meetings at Florida
Installing a new offense, and dealing with the expectations that come with calling the offensive shots in Gainesville make for a full plate for Kurt Roper as he enters his first spring practices. And from the looks of it, he's enjoying every minute of it.
Take a look at the way he commands the room and runs his offensive film sessions with players and coaches in the clip below.
With the success he had offensively at Duke, I know I'm not the only one looking forward to seeing what Roper is able to do with the caliber of players that Florida pulls in.
Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer will be SEC Network's lead announcing crew
ESPN announced Wednesday that the much-anticipated SEC Network has its lead announcing crew for football: Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer. The pair will be on the call for the network's debut game of Texas A&M at South Carolina on Aug. 28, and then on one of SEC Network's three games each Saturday after that.
“The pairing of Brent and Jesse as our lead team speaks to the caliber of talent we will have on the network and the commitment to quality that we are making,” ESPN vice president of production for college networks Stephanie Druley said. “We are establishing an incredible roster that SEC fans and followers expect and deserve.”
While the news is obviously massive for SEC Network, it begs an even larger question for ESPN's college football coverage as a whole. If Musburger is off ABC's Saturday Night Football crew, who's his replacement?
Multiple media reporters have stated that Chris Fowler is the leading candidate to step into Musburger's chair aside Kirk Herbstreit. Fowler is an absolute professional and, though best known in college football circles as the host of College GameDay, has years of play-by-play experience, primarily on ESPN's Thursday night package. Fowler has stated his desire to do more play-by-play, and has certainly earned that right as one of ESPN's most-respected voices for a quarter century now.
Fowler's potential move from Saturday mornings to Saturday nights would create another seismic move, as GameDay - one of the top pre-game shows in sports, as well as one of ESPN's most valuable (and marketable) properties - would lose its long-time captain. Rece Davis would be the natural candidate to ascend from ESPN's college football studio show. Davis has also expressed interest in upping his play-by-play duties, so I'd expect him to remain on ESPN's Thursday crew and call one of the six College Football Playoff bowls. Joe Tessitore has already been announced as the studio host for SEC Network's traveling pre-game show.
Whoever gets the call to replace Musburger figures to be the voice of a new era in college football. Along with being the voice of ABC's Saturday Night Football, the new hire will be on the call for College Football Playoff's first championship game.
Video: Raw footage of LSU's 'Big Cat Drill'
Sometimes nothing quite hits the spot like unedited, raw drill footage. This footage from LSU's practice yesterday is one of those instances.
This is football at its finest, with head to head combat between two guys that the coaching staff pairs up. Les calls them into the middle of the circle, and once the whistle is blown, the boys are separated from the men. This is known on the bayou as the "Big Cat Drill".
Enjoy some of the battles here, and big hits later in the clip. Only 169 days until college football kicks off again.
Sark explains why walk throughs are important if you're a no huddle team
If you coach with an up tempo approach, or are looking to make the change this fall, Steve Sarkisian has some advice on practice structure for you.
Sark led USC through their first spring practice of the year last night, and noted their tempo as a reason why they have three walk through periods built in throughout practice.
"If you noticed. We don't have time to critique our players in between plays because of the tempo that we're operating at, and it's designed that way. That's why you see those walk through periods in the middle of practice."
"I think most people traditionally do walk throughs before practice, but we actually break ours up into three separate segments within practice, and call them 'teach periods'. So if you take those times between practices to try and fix some of the errors that we saw in some of the team periods, and then ultimately we teach off the film."
"It's definitely a different way of teaching, but it's definitely a way that grabs a players attention and they respond to it really well."
Video: ULM training to be 'relentless'
Nice five minute clip here from Louisiana-Monroe highlighting their off season efforts and how they are training their guys to be "relentless."
Lots of good GoPro-type footage, and interesting angles of the workouts in this one. The strength staff looks to be putting their own spin on a lot of popular drills, and the guys have to dig deep to get through these workouts.
This chart shows why every coach is a teacher first, football coach second
This chart has been passed around Twitter today but if you have yet to see it, you need to. The NCAA released a chart entitled simply "Probability of Competing Beyond High School" and even though all its data was already sitting in the back of your mind, it's still eye-opening to see.
More than a million kids play high school football every year, and 254 will be drafted every year. That's one in every 1,250.
Get that degree, young man.
What these three coaches tell us about the state of college football
There are 128 head coaches in Football Bowl Subdivision. If you were to place all of them on a scatter plot by their hiring dates, there'd be a massive cluster around the last five years and then, starting around 2008, a handful of dots every year until the turn of the century until you got to one lonely speck marking Frank Beamer's hiring at Virginia Tech back in 1986.
With a total of 126 hirings over the past five years (mind you, there are just now 128 teams in FBS) college football is very much a win-or-get-out business. Make it past year four, and chances are it's because you started winning very quickly. But for every rule there is an exception, and in this case there are three.
Of the 128 FBS head coaches, three of them have won seven or less games each of the past four seasons. They are Iowa State's Paul Rhoads, Central Michigan's Dan Enos and UNLV's Bobby Hauck. This may read like a negative note, but it's not. Plenty of coaches don't get four years to build a program, as Jon Embree, Ellis Johnson and a host of others can attest.
Two of the three are in the midst of a definite upswing. After three straight two-win seasons, Hauck took UNLV to its first bowl game since 2000 this fall. Enos rebounded from back-to-back 3-9 campaigns to a Pizza Bowl win in 2012 and a 6-6 follow-up in 2013. And even though Rhoads' Cyclones ultimately suffered a down year in 2013, the Iowa State faithful was enamored enough with him before the season to completely sell out of season tickets three weeks before opening kick.
This is more of a commentary on the state of college football and the expectations heaped on coaches. When 128 athletics directors and presidents have their fingers glued to the eject button, you get a coaching middle class with a population of three.