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Hoffner returns to Mankato

The logistics behind Notre Dame's trip to Ireland

When we see Notre Dame take on Navy in Ireland next weekend at 9am, the anticipation of the college football season will finally have started to ease with prior games on Thursday and Friday.

However, the logistics surrounding the trip probably won't come to mind. All the time and energy spent packing everything up, double and triple checking it, getting it all through customs, loading it onto the plane, unpacking everything at the stadium, and then packing it all up after the game, within an hour, to catch the plane back to South Bend will be a mere afterthought.

That's not the case for third year head equipment manager Ryan Grooms, whose shoulders the responsibility of making sure everything goes smoothly.

"It's a lot of similarity to a bowl game, with the extra items we're taking (for two practices)". We're taking everything and anything. We're basically taking the (Gugliemino Athletics Complex's) equipment room with us, just to be safe."

"There's no chance of fixing anything."

On Wednesday, Grooms will take about 35 trunks through customs and load it into the plane. Each trunk has an estimated $20,000 in equipment and they total about 15,000 pounds, plus the 222 passengers on board. The weight total doesn't even count the medical and video supplies.

Oh yeah, and once they arrive on site, the team will have share a dressing room of 28 lockers along with a makeshift locker room area.

Just to be safe, two sets of cleats are being packed for each player, a molded cleat and detachable surface cleat, because of the uncertainty surrounding the weather and the different style of grass that makes up the playing surface. 

The worst item you could forget according to Grooms?

"The worst thing you could is forget a player's helmet or jersey. There are two jerseys for every player. There are backup helmets. Knock on wood, I have not forgotten one of those items in my career. It could end a career, if you do."




New pre-game tradition at Ohio State

Urban Meyer and Mickey Marotti are starting a new pre-game tradition in Columbus on game day.

At the 23 minute mark (pre-game), the team will do "quick cals" with fans in the south stands. 

Details in the video. Seems like once again, the goal is to get fans in the stands early and to get them engaged. 

Spurrier: We've figured out how to win in the SEC

Finding a way to win in the SEC is much different than winning twenty years ago at Florida, according to Steve Spurrier.

Spurrier believes they've found the formula for success in the SEC.

“We’ve kind of figured out the best way to win around here is to play defense and run the ball.” he explained.

Spurrier admits he would love to throw it all over the place, like his Fun 'N Gun offenses of the past, but the bottom line is getting that "W" by any means necessary.

“We’d like to throw it all over the park. But you start to understand that maybe it’s just not going to work all the time. We all know it’s about beating the other guy. If that means running the ball 40-50 times and letting our defense do their job, that’s what we’ll do.”


In the locker room pre-game at Florida State

Really good audio here of Jimbo Fisher addressing the team in the locker room before the Seminoles take the field.

"The opportunities that you have in life, don't let them slide through your fingers. And the people who don't let them slide through their fingers are the people who truly believe that it's their time."

"I want you to understand something...this is our time." Fisher tells the team.

College football kickoff is almost here...

Interesting new game day elements at UNC

UNC released a note this morning listing some changes to the game day atmosphere at Kenan Stadium.

For starters, they have implemented an early bird concessions discount on hot dogs and soft drinks where fans will be able to get both at half price until 30 minutes before kickoff. 

Also, the Tar Heels plan on breaking out the white on white on white look against Virginia Tech on October 6th and fans are encouraged to white out the stadium.

And lastly, everyone is aware of the high octane offense that Larry Fedora and his staff have brought in, but it's also interesting to note that last season Fedora's punt team ran fake punts from their own end zone twice...and they were both successful.

It should be an exciting season in Chapel Hill.

In The Swamp, only Gators get out alive

Back one morning in 1992, the phone of sports columnist Mike Bianchi rang. On the other end was Steve Spurrier.

"Got a story for you, Bianchi." Spurrier said. "We're gonna start calling our home field 'The Swamp'. what do you think?"

As Spurrier explained twenty years ago, “Us Gators are comfortable in there, but we want our opponents to be tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous.” In other words, in swamps, only gators get out alive.

Bianchi, who was somewhat surprised at the time, reflected back on the phone call. 

“My first thought when I heard it was, this guy is the sports world’s most unlikely marketing savant. We all knew he was a great coach and a great player, but more than anything he was a Gator through and through.”

Spurrier met with the communications director, Norm Carlson, a few times that off season to brainstorm some nicknames for the field. As Carlson remembers, one nickname that didn't make the cut was "Gator Bog."

After doing some research, Carlson discovered that the president of the University at the time had picked out the location for the field, and described the area being a "swampy depression" at the time. Pipes were brought in to drain the area, and over 60 years later a nickname was born.

Under Spurrier, the Gators went an impressive 68-5 at "The Swamp", and are 122-18 since the stadium debuted it's nickname in Bianchi's article...and it all started with an unexpected phone call from the ol ball coach. 

A great example of coaches utilizing their relationships with the media to help their cause. 




Big 12 nearing a multi-billion dollar TV deal

During a recent stop at Kansas during a tour of conference schools, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby talked about a multi-year, $2.6 billion TV deal for the league that should be finalized soon.

According to CBSSports.com, the deal is expected to cover 13 years and an arrangement will be made with FOX and ABC / ESPN to share the cable rights. Bowlsby noted that, hopefully, the contract should be finalized by next Saturday.

"There are some elements that need to be worked out, some of it by the end of today, but we're not working under any sort of deadline. We're moving forward as if we have an agreement, and we do have an agreement on almost all elements of it."

"The exposure for our football programs, for men's and women's basketball and our Olympic sports, will be unprecedented. We'll be much more widely distributed." he explained.

Bowlsby also noted that significant progress has been made on a TV deal and host location for the Champions Bowl, and an announcement should be made within the next few weeks.

USC now listing Twitter handles on players bio's

In an interesting move, the University of Southern California is now listing players Twitter handles on their official online roster.

Here is a link to Robert Woods' bio page as an example.

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The move is surely going to play well with recruits. Good move, we like it.