Kirby Wilson: An inspiration to the Steelers
Steelers players got a nice surprise when the showed up for team workouts recently. Sitting in his office was running backs coach Kirby Wilson.
Back in January, Wilson suffered burns to 45% of his body. Shortly after being released from the hospital, he was back in his office.
Fullback David Johnson recalls seeing Wilson the first day of team activities. "It meant a lot. It makes it feel like you can do anything and makes everything else seem so small.”
Initially, the plan was to have assistant special teams coordinator Amos Jones help Wilson...but it didn't take long to see that, despite most of his coaching is coming from a golf cart, Wilson was picking up right where he left off.
“Don’t get confused just because he is riding around in a cart most of the time. He is still going to yell at you and scream. That puts a smile on my face...that I hear Kirby yelling at someone.” Ben Roethlisberger said of Wilson's return.
“He is one of those coaches who brings energy to the entire field. Even right now in his state, driving around in the cart, he guy can take light-hearted jokes about driving around in a cart. He is a true story of perseverance.”
“He is so excited about being back out here. After fighting for his life, his excitement comes from being able to work with us. To me, that’s inspirational.” safety Ryan Clark added.
When you open up with LSU...
North Texas opens up 2012 against LSU on the road in Death Valley, before playing Texas State at home, and then heading up to Manhattan, Kansas to take on Bill Snyder and Kansas State. That's a tough way to open up the season!
The staff at North Texas created the hype video below to get their fans excited about the season starting right now! Tough first three games; but imagine if they came out of those first three at 2-1...
Fedora's Freak Show
The latest offering from North Carolina's football staff is another fun one.
We present you with..."Fedora's Freak Show"!
IMG to field a high school team in 2013
IMG, the academy known for providing outstanding training and instruction to elite athletes in America and beyond has announced that they will begin fielding a football team starting the spring of 2013.
Chris Weinke, who also hold the title of director of football at the academy, shared his thoughts on the big announcement.
“Through our camps, clinics, combines and individual training, I have spent an incredible two years at IMG Academy working with some of the most talented young football players in the nation. I have been looking forward to the day we could announce the formation of a competitive team, and that day is finally here.”
“Student-athletes are enrolled in one of the most challenging and rewarding football development programs in the country. The college preparatory experience here is second-to-none, and we expect our first class of football student-athletes will take full advantage of the resources made available to them as they look to advance to the next level.” IMG athletic director Greg Phillips stated.
Not only will the student athletes enrolled at IMG have access to facilities that rival those of many colleges, but they'll also get coached up by the same guys who have provided instruction to players like Luke Kuechly, Cam Newton, Drew Brees and Eli Manning.
While the official announcement came today, the schedule and logistics will be ironed out in the next few months.
It will be interesting to see how this idea takes shape over the next year.
Below is a video highlighting the instruction and experience that IMG offers at the youth, high school, college, and professional level.
Transformation of facilities at Mississippi State
Everything from tennis to football was addressed, and athletic director Scott Stricklin points out the great job that Advent has done with their facilities, even though they were built during an era where branding was not nearly as important.
"Facilities say a lot about what is important to you. Whether it's size and scope or aesthetics, or functionality" Stricklin explains in the clip.
"We try to tell a story when they see our facilities. It's really criticial that it tells the right kind of story and that people see that as something that reflects positively on your University, and Mississippi State we have a great story to tell, and Advent has really helped make that story come alive."
"We're going to be like a fire department"
Last spring, Hendrix College announced that they were bringing football back after a 52 year absence. In March they named Louisiana College associate head coach Justin "Buck" Buchanan their new head coach.
With an extensive background as both a player and coach at the D-III level, Buchanan understands what small college football is all about.
“It’s real college football,” he explained during a recent speaking event. “The players may be an inch or two short or a second or two slow to play at another level. If you watch our games, you’ll see players who are going to be future doctors and lawyers and teachers and coaches and professionals who are playing the game like it’s meant to be played. You will be seeing players who will play as hard as any at a college level because they are playing it because of the love of the sport and each other.”
Buchanan went on to share a story about a small fire department that had been called on to respond to a large fire. The big departments were already on scene and had just started to set up when an old fire truck from the small department blasted through the barricades and put out the fire with only sand and old blankets. Buck used the story as an analogy for how him and his staff plan to get the Hendrix football program back on track.
“We are going to be like that small fire department and just go rushing in and start working. We are going to build a great program with a great foundation and great young men, And just like that little fire department, we are going to reap the rewards. Our institution will reap the reward and our young men will reap those rewards.”
Longhorn's 2012 slogan: "RISE"
Mack Brown addressed the media during his summer press conference yesterday, and talked about a new position the offensive staff is working on, as well as the motto that the team has agreed on using for 2012.
Co-offensive coordinators Bryan Harsin and Major Applewhite, along with receivers coach Darrell Wyatt have been brainstorming creative ways to get the ball in the hands of their best players, and have come up with a hybrid position to utilize.
"We also are working on a new position as such, Bryan and Major and Darrell are calling it 'T and Z' right now, which is part tailback, part Z receiver, for [RB] D.J. Monroe and [ATH] Daje Johnson. We feel those guys are speed guys and can get the ball in their hands and help us with explosive plays. They're working hard this summer on getting packages to get D.J. more involved".
Brown also talked about the importance of "RISE", the slogan that the team has decided to use this season.
"We asked the players to come up with their own motto and slogan for the year. They came up with RISE. The R in RISE is for relentless, the I is for intensity. They want the S to be swagger. A number of our coaches and Bennie thought it should be sacrifice first, then you get your swagger. They said you don't come off 85 with swagger, you have to earn that right, you earn that through time. Then the E is for emotion.They even designed a logo for it. We do feel like last year's team was, again, all over the place and was not capable of doing some of this stuff themselves. Bennie and the staff came up with “brick-by –brick.” This is what we're going to do, this is how we're going to do it, keep your mouth shut and let's start earning our way back so we can work and get our team and credibility back."
Mack explained each coach went through each of the words that were chosen and told the team what the word mean to them before they actually decided to do it. When it came to the "S", each side had a different view. In the end, the coaches always win.
"They wanted to keep swagger. We're going to make them earn the 'S.' 'Sa' starts before 'Sw.' We're going to make them start with one to get to the other. Then we took the basic meanings out of the encyclopedia and put it up on the board so that everybody understood if this is who they wanted to be, if this is what they wanted to represent themselves with their Tshirts, armbands, whatever, but don't act like you have intensity unless you do. Don't say relentless unless you're going to be that way, don't say you're going to play emotion and play flat. You all brought it up, said it, now do it."
Learn from your players
Pepper Johnson played in the league for over a decade as a linebacker before eventually becoming an assistant with the Patriots, where he has spent his entire coaching career. Johnson started out with the outside linebackers before spending the past 8 seasons working with the defensive line.
Just like riding a bike, Johnson got back in the groove of things with the linebackers without skipping a beat this off season. Part of the reason he's made a smooth transition back is because of his thirst for knowledge during his time as a player, and also by not being afraid to ask players for valuable insight.
“As a player I learned everything I possibly could about football. Coaching the defensive line as close as I was working with them as a player, I felt I know a lot about it. The things I had questions about I asked players, and I had long conversations with a lot of players I highly respect while I was playing the game.”
Johnson added that moving from coaching defensive linemen to linebackers was simply, "Instead of coaching guys going forward, I’m coaching guys running backwards in coverage." Clever.