LSU proposing stadium expansion
LSU is proposing a stadium expansion of approximately 60 suites, 3,000 club seats, and 1,500 general population seats to be entirely funded privately.
The new expansion would take place in the south end zone with the general public seats located above the club and suite level seating. Standing room only tickets will also be made available when the new structure opens, and should bring the total capacity in Death Valley to around 100,000 screaming fans.
"It is important to always have an eye on the future and this investment in our facilities is critical for the future of LSU Athletics. When things are going well, you can move forward or you can fall behind. We are choosing to advance the athletics program so that it can remain a viable and successful part of the mission of our university." Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva stated.
The expansion will allow for two video boards to be added in the southwest and southeast corners of the stadium, replacing the current video board sitting on the south bowl.
If the project is approved, construction would begin in the fall and be completed in the summer of 2014.
The Box drill at Texas A&M
Texas A&M receivers coach David Beaty takes 12thManTV through a drill called "the box drill" in the film room with some very good footage from a recent practice, and provides some excellent coaching points.
Beaty says that Kevin Sumlin and the staff have really put a renewed emphasis on making every off season drill they do very competitive, with a definitive winner and loser.
The box drill works release moves, with a focus on getting the defensive back in a trail position. The object is to stay inside of the marked 5 yard area and touch the coach once the receiver gets stacked back on top of his route.
Very good drill and good coaching points in the video below.
Financing for Cal's stadium renovation becoming a problem
The Wall Street Journal ran fascinating article about the status of the major renovation to Cal's Memorial Stadium and the major financial problems they are having paying for it.
The planned renovations had a hefty price tag of $321 million, and would make the project one of the most expensive renovations in college sports history. Originally, the University had hoped to fund the project through long term seating sales and naming rights to various parts of the stadium. The renovation will actually reduce seating capacity from 72,000 to about 63,000.
Athletic director Sandy Barbour, who approved and promoted the renovation plans and the associated funding plan (which called for raising $270 million from the sale of seats), is now admitting that the University will have to borrow the vast majority of the money. As of December, which marked about three years into the project, Cal had only collected $31 million. In the WSJ article, Barbour added, "We're not asleep at the wheel here."
According to the WSJ, the $321 million is far more than what Minnesota and Stanford paid to build brand new football stadiums. To further put things in perspective, Michigan spent $148 million to add luxury seats at The Big House, Washington is spending about $200 million on recent stadium renovations, and Minnesota borrowed $220 million to build their new stadium. In the WSJ article, Barbour says that about 70% of the total cost of the project is attributable to "safety upgrades" due to the fact that the stadium sits atop a geological fault. Really? So is that saying that if the stadium weren't there, it would only cost 30% of $321 million ($96 million)? TCU is reportedly spending about $150 million on their renovation. Baylor's proposed on campus stadium is projected to cost "up to $250 million".
Along with the football stadium renovations, the athletic department was also planning to build a new multi sport training facility for $153 million. Combined, the two projects were looking at a half a billion dollars. It's no secret that higher education in California is going through some financial troubles of their own. Last year the state legislature cut $650 million dollars from the University of California's $3 billion operating budget.
Despite leading the country in tuition increases (in-state tuition increased 17% this year, with another double digit tuition increase in the near future), University officials say that because of the shortfall from athletics the rest of the funds will have to come from campus funds including an increase in student fees.
When we visited Cal on our recent Pac-12 tour, construction was ongoing, hot and heavy (see picture below). The word from the staff was that the stadium would be "game ready" by opening day; but the project would be far from finished. In fact, the coaches were just moving into their new offices the week that we were there.
We're hoping Coach Tedford and his staff can win a bunch of games this year to help shore up the financing of this project.
Bucs learning Schiano's way
Yesterday marked the first time that new Bucs head coach Greg Schiano could see his team on the practice field, and while he was pleased with the effort, he explains that the players have a lot to learn about the way the new coaching staff wants things done.
"Teaching the way we do things, and that covers a lot of different areas...effort, precision, schematics, all those things. If you have to come out of it with one thing, you want them to understand the tempo with which we practice and the attention to detail that's required to play this game effectively."
"The schemes will come. We have time, although not a lot of it." Schiano explained. "But that will come when we rep it and learn it and rep it and learn it and rep it and learn it. But to get the tempo and attention to detail would be the biggest thing."
"This is training for all of us to ready for training camp when we have to hit it and get it. We'll build through this mini camp and OTA's and then the mandatory mini camp and hopefully, we'll be ready to go to training camp with a group of people who truly understand each other and what we're setting out to do."
Schiano will kick off his NFL head coaching career at Raymond James Stadium when they take on Carolina Sunday, September 9.
In the film room with Greg Davis
Gerry DiNardo of the Big Ten Network got the opportunity to sit down and talk X's and O's in the film room with Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis.
Davis walks DiNardo through a few plays including the zone scheme, weak side iso, and a play action pass with some good practice cut ups to accompany each one.
Buyout clauses at Univ. of Washington
Sark made some very aggressive hires this off-season, bringing in Justin Wilcox and Peter Sirmon from Tennessee, Tosh Lupoi and Eric Kiesau from Cal and Keith Heyward from Oregon State. UW definitely stepped up to the plate in terms of compensation packages for these guys; but we learned today, compliments of Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, that UW definitely protected themselves in the contracts as well.
Condotta's got the details; but in short, if any of these guys leave the program to go work for another Pac-12 team, other than as a head coach, UW will be on the receiving end of a large check. In Wilcox's case, if he leaves prior to December 31, 2014 (other than as detailed above) he'll owe UW $1 million. Kiesau would owe $500,000. Lupoi's contract says that if he leaves at any time prior to the completion of his contract (Feb. 6, 2015) he would owe the University payment equal to all remaining compensation due under the agreement.
On our recent Pac-12 tour we had the opportunity to meet with UW athletic director Scott Woodward. During our conversations he spoke extremely highly of several of the assistants on this staff. Woodward believes that a couple of these guys will be head coaches in the future. It's nice to see that their contracts don't contain any sort of penalty in the event that they have that kind of opportunity.
When you step back and think about it, the provisions that UW included make sense. They stepped up and met the market in terms of compensation and security (multi-year contracts) for the coaches. In the event one of them has the opportunity to become a head coach, that's a win-win situation and there is no issue. However, if one of these guys decides they want to move on, into a competing program at a position other than head coach, then the University will realize some financial relief as they have to go out and invest in finding a replacement.
Condotta's research also noted that UW paid the $75,000 buyout that Sirmon owed to Tennessee.
Interesting throwback uniforms for the Steelers
The Steelers released their 80th anniversary throwback uniforms today.
The only word we could come up with to describe these is...well...interesting...
See them for yourself. You be the judge.
Winners eat Steak, Losers get...
Illinois wrapped up their spring game Saturday and new head coach Tim Beckman made good on his promise of steak for the winners...beans and weenies for the losers.
The Blue team, which were winners of the spring game down in Champaign, were rewarded handsomely with a dinner of steak and shrimp, topped off with cake last night, while the losing Orange team dined on beans and weenies (Coach Beckman was also nice enough to throw some salad in there as well).
Orange team quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase was a fan of the competition, despite coming out on the short end. "That's life. When you win your rewarded, when you lose...your not. Thats how college football is from a week to week standpoint."