Advice for your freshmen: "When you don't understand the terms, become tactical"


Derek Mason is one of 20 new FBS head coaches leading new programs through fall camp. Over the coming days and weeks he's evaluating his new roster of players for the first time in pads, which prompts countless questions from every beat reporter wondering "How does so-and-so look so far?"

Yesterday at practice Mason was asked a question along those lines about a newly arrived freshman, and his response could not have been phrased any better, and is a message fitting for freshman everywhere as you begin camp.

"When these guys press a little bit, they all want to have a great showing, but it's not about pressing, it's about letting the game come to you."

"Football is a game that's meant to be played. You dictate the terms when you understand what the terms are. When you don't know what the terms are, you become tactical and you understand what your job is and you lead the men around you to do theirs. That's what we need from those guys right now."

A couple Pac-12 coaches are going literal with their motivational metaphors

Ask anyone in Eugene, and they'll say the problem with last year's Oregon football team was that the Ducks started to believe their own hype. They believed a BCS berth was a given, and that victory was assured as long as they showed up in whatever uniform combination they happened to wear that day.

"And that's the thing, everything has to be earned at this level," left tackler Tyler Johnstone told the Oregonian. "We can't win on talent alone. That's what we took away from it. You actually have to work, and you have to take care of the little things.''

Mark Helfrich has stressed that Oregon needs to get back to being a blue collar team in 2014. He should be unable to tell, Helfrich tells his team, if they love practices or games more. 

To drive home that point, Helfrich has put blue collars on Oregon's practice undershirts.

"We know within our team why we lost two games,'' receiver Keanon Lowe said. "And (the blue collars) is a cool representation and symbol to always keep in our minds that this is a process. There are steps on the ladder, but you can't skip steps. You can't expect to win just because of the O on the helmet.''


In the Pac-12's South Division, Arizona State is building off a season in which the Sun Devils got to host the conference title game, but fell to Stanford for the second time of the season in a thorough 38-14 defeat.

Todd Graham says the Pac-12 Championship is the goal for Arizona State every season but, just in case his players have forgotten, he's had his equipment staff put Pac-12 championship trophy decals on the back of their helmets for fall camp.

ASU helmet

ASU helmet2

Video: "Bleed" provides a unique off season perspective

Over the course of a few years on staff here at The Scoop, I've watched and evaluated thousands of off season videos, and to be quite honest, I used to be under the impression that all of them were created relatively equal.

However that notion was shattered 30 seconds into West Virginia's "Bleed" highlight. This video is not only well produced, but the most interesting part is the unique access into the words of wisdom and motivation from the strength staff that was shared with the team over the course of the off season.

Just in case you needed a reminder, West Virginia opens up the season against Alabama in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Video of the Day - TCU wants to Amp it up

Player earns himself $100,000+

We've all seen videos in which a coach lets a walk-on know he has earned a scholarship; but have you ever stepped back and thought about what that really means for that young man and his family?

I saw the video below today in which Wisconsin's Gary Andersen awards a scholarship to a walk-on player.

It turns out that player is Connor Udelhoven, a redshirt sophomore from St. Paul, MN. Well, according to Collegedata.com, the annual value of that scholarship to Connor and his family is over $35,000 in tuition, fees, room & board. With his three years remaining, and assuming he maintains that scholarship, this award was worth over $100,000 to the Udelhovens. Oh, and you know what else, this reaffirmed in Connor (and hopefully in a lot of young men) the conviction that hard work does pay off. 

I don't know what the future holds for Connor Udelhoven; but I am very confident that this award will be very important in the foundation of his future. Congratulations to you and keep up the good work. 

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