Rocky Long speaks the dead honest truth to begin press conference
It’s not often that a head coach starts a press conference like Rocky Long did today. In his defense, it seems like head coaches have been talking to the media every day for two weeks.
How about this for an opening statement:
Rocky Long: “Ahh, I don’t know what you want to know cuz I don’t have much to say. I’ve been talking for two weeks every day about this. I’m sick and tired of talking about it. We excited about starting practice tomorrow. Wish we could start today.”
(Long pause & silence)
“Did you want more than that?” (plenty of laughter from reporters)
At one point, Long was once again dead honest with a reporter when asked a generic question.
Long said smilingly, “Gee, I’ve answered this question about 9,000 times now.” He then politely and briefly touched on a couple of things the reporter wanted to know about offense, defense, and special teams.
So coach, how would you describe your coaching staff?
“Haha, why don’t you come to practice and then describe it for me?” (Not kidding. That was Long’s reply.)
The point is, Long is just ready to hit the practice fields and understandably so. There’s only so much you can say about your team.
On Monday, Long begins his first August camp as a head coach since 2008, his last season at New Mexico.
Long said, “I can’t sleep at night. It wasn’t until about a week ago until that that happened. And so that’s normal. The last two years (as defensive coordinator), I slept pretty good. I never use to sleep when I was a head coach before. So obviously I know I’m a head coach again because I can’t sleep. I’m not nervous whatsoever because I’ve done it before and I know what to expect, but I do have butterflies in my stomach today that I did not have yesterday. Like I said, I was sleeping fine until about a week ago. I assume that because the football season is here.”
Greg Schiano: Most importantly, it fits our personality
It’s always better when you have an identity on offense, when you know “who you are” and what you are trying to accomplish.
For Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano, that isn’t something he worries about.
In the off-season, Schiano hired former Pitt offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti to run the Scarlet Knights’ offense. It’s worked out well because Schiano knows exactly “who we are.”
On Sunday, Schiano talked about the new scheme. He explained, “Well, I think it fits our personnel but most importantly it fits our personality. We are going to take chances and we are going to have big plays in the pass game but at the heart of the matter is you have to be able to run the football and that's who we are.”
“That's the region we live in. It's a tough-guy area. It's a working man's area, and if you play football that way, I think the kids grow up that way around here. So the kids you recruit come in and expect that. I think it fits who we are. And when you look at our personnel, I think we have good players on offense that can run it, they can catch it, they can throw it.”
“We are getting better up front, and that's what we should be able to do in this region of the country. I believe it plays to your whole football team. You know, your defense becomes better because of it. It allows to you really emphasize the kicking game, which we do, and that's our formula.”
Talking specifically about Cignetti, Schiano said, “The X & O part is hugely important and finding a guy that's on the same philosophical wavelength, but the reality is, you live together for six months. I mean, basically you see a lot more of them than do you anyone else. So you'd better have people that you really think are good people and that care; care about the players; care about the staff. Frank is one of those guys. He's deeply, deeply passionate about the offense that he runs. That's something that I love about him. It's fun. It's been a fun spring and a fun camp so far, because I think both sides of the ball are really excelling and competing, and that's good. It rises the level of everything.”
Rutgers opens the season against North Carolina Central on Thursday night, September 1st.
Cignetti will be dialing 26 power.
Muschamp jokes about Nick Saban's opening day rant
You may have seen Nick Saban’s opening day rant about the media. He was quite upset about the false injury reports that have surfaced about some of the Crimson Tide players.
Saban went off, stating, “I’m going to start messing with you. I don’t know how to do it, but I’m going to start doing it. And every day I’m going to post something that is total BS. A’ight. So you all can go crazy out there, a’ight, about misinformation and bad information. And have no professionalism to try to find out if it did or didn’t happen. Just create some you know what. Anything that you can…”
On Saturday, one of Saban’s former assistants, Will Muschamp, humorously reacted to Saban’s rant.
Muschamp joked, “I know that if he wants to put something on a message board, somebody will have to turn the computer on for him, show him how to use the mouse, and probably keyboard it as well. He’s not very advanced as far as technology is concerned.”
Muschamp then made his injury reporting policy known to the Florida media.
He stated, “We’re going to try to be as honest as we can, but it’s not the NFL. We don’t have to disclose anything. That’s going to be my policy.”
Facility video: Want to see it done right? Watch this.
Oklahoma State has released a video that showcases the Cowboy’s football facilities.
You will be impressed, period. End of story.
Mike Gundy says, “We use to hide our facilities here in recruiting. We had the worst facilities in the Big Twelve.”
“We’ve now been in our facility a year-and-a-half. There’s no question it’s comparable, if not the best in the country.”
Gundy adds, “It gives the opportunity for a young man to come to Oklahoma State, every chance to be successful. You have a 18,000 or 19,000 square feet weight room, you got an academic center, unbelievable position meeting rooms, team rooms, theatre rooms, offensive meeting rooms, offices, the training room…everything a young man needs to have success is in place.”
“We’re now breaking ground on our new grass practice field and our indoor facility that’s right around the corner. In a short time, we’re going to have the best fields in the country.”
For your amazement…
Bronco believes BYU has something it's been missing in the past
BYU began practice on Saturday in Provo and head coach Bronco Mendenhall bragged on the quality depth at most every position.
Mendenhall believes the Cougars have to use their depth as an advantage during an brutal early-season schedule. BYU opens the season at Ole Miss then travels to Texas the following week. The next two games are in Provo, but against Utah and UCF.
After practice, Mendenhall said, “Most positions…there are some that are three-deep, but most are four-deep and there are a couple that are five-deep. It’s reflective of the program’s maturity and it’s been a while, especially in the line positions, that we’ve had that luxury.”
"I think the competition will actually be even more fierce between better quality and not as many unknowns. It's how the reps will be divided. My hope is that I'm looking for a higher level of performance from our team through camp at a faster pace than what we've had before because it's a difficult early schedule."
By all accounts, there is a ton of excitement and enthusiasm around the BYU program heading into this season.
Offensive lineman Terence Brown told The Deseret News, "Our goal is to be the nastiest, most aggressive offensive line in the country, and it started with what we did in the offseason.”
Here is Bronco’s post-practice media session from Saturday:
Josh Heupel sends a message to reporters
Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel met with the media for ten minutes on Saturday.
The reporters wanted to know a lot, but to say the least, Heupel made it pretty clear he’s not really in to giving a lot of information.
Heupel (33) was friendly, articulate, humble, well-spoken, and tight lipped. Perhaps “vague” would be the best way to describe Heupel’s approach.
Not yet understanding? Think about the 100% dead opposite of Derek Dooley in terms of giving out information.
For example, “So Josh, what do you bring to the team different as a play-caller than Kevin Wilson?”
Heupel’s answer, “To compare the two, I can’t do that. I think that who and what we are as an offense isn’t going to dramatically change. We want to play with multiple personnel groupings, we want to maintain some form of balance to be able to run the football effectively, play-action pass, we want to move the pocket, we want to play up tempo. So some of those things are going to be similarities, but during the course of preparation, game planning during the week, and what type of situations you want to put your players in on game day, there is going to be some differences throughout that.”
“Ultimately, we have a great offensive staff room. We have a great chemistry up there. It’s never been about one guy. And really excited about the way we are working together and trying to build this unit.”
So coach, are we going to see some of those diamond sets and multiple tight end sets that Kevin Wilson liked?
Heupel said, “Our personnel variations are going to determine on the guys we think can play at a high level. We want to have balance. We want to be multiple in our personnel groupings. We are going to be as multiple as we can be with the guys we feel are going to play at a high enough level that will give us the best chance to win. We are trying to find a way to get the ball into the hands of our most explosive players.”
Just a guy who wants to coach some ball and help the program with a national championship…
To get our drift, listen to the last minute of Heupel's media session.
Dan McCarney: You know it and I know it. We have zero chance to win unless...
Camp is underway at North Texas under new head coach Dan McCarney, who was point blank with anyone listening yesterday.
McCarney said, "This was the smallest D1 team I had ever been around (when I got here). We addressed it. We worked on it. We did make improvements because you have no chance, zero chance, to win games in the Sun Belt or non-conference or anybody we play unless we are more physical in the trenches than North Texas has been for many years. You know it and I know it. You can have playmakers with speed and quarterbacks and running backs with a lot of yards and all that stuff and you keep seeing 9 losses, 10 losses, 9 losses, 10 losses. Why? Because you keep getting dominated in the trenches, period, end of story."
Alrighty, coach. We'll take your word. Now what about the brand new stadium and new uniforms?
McCarney said, “The perception on the outside is that football stinks at North Texas. The perception is there is no commitment, no winning, no success, it hasn't been run the right way -- if you want to go small time, you go to North Texas. If you want to go big time, you go somewhere else. That's what we stepped into."
“Once we get young men and their families on campus, it is a whole different world now. What I ask all of them is if it is less than what you expected, what you expected or more than you expected. Everyone has said it is more than they expected.”
North Texas opens at FIU on Thursday night, September 1st. The first home game in the new stadium is against Houston on Saturday, September 10th.
Ruffin McNeill: I was like a ninja today
East Carolina opened practice on Friday under second-year head coach Ruffin McNeill.
After off-season hip replacement surgery and gastric-bypass surgery, McNeill moved around better than any time last season. In fact, the former Texas Tech defensive coordinator has lost 120 pounds.
He recently joked, "My brother told me, 'You've lost a fourth-grader.'?I told him, 'I'm trying to lose a sixth-grader.'?"
Last season was really tough on McNeill as he constantly used a golf cart to move around on the practice field.
But on Friday, he joked, “I was like a ninja today. The kids couldn't hear me coming up on them. The cart is there and sometimes I might need it. But today was good. I felt good and I've been walking every day. I walked before practice today and I feel great conditioning wise, but it's still a process.”
Here’s part of his post-practice media session with reporters: