Fun at Northwestern
If you've ever been up to a spring practice at Northwestern, you know that Pat Fitzgerald likes to work some fun into practice on occasion.
The video below shows the typical spin around with your forehead on a bat race that's been turned into a team building activity.
Ten spins around the bat, then hand it off to a teammate 5 yards away. However, the staff threw in a nice little twist at the end....the last player also has to eat a hot dog.
You can't make this kind of stuff up.
Freeze's recruiting pitch
It's no secret that Hugh Freeze uses the fact that he was "The Blindside's" Michael Oher's real life coach while he's out on the recruiting trail, but an interesting article with the Atlanta Journal Constitution got some insight into just how it's used.
“It’s going to get discussed.” Freeze told the paper. If the recruit doesn't bring it up, Freeze won't be shy about it.
"No doubt, it helps. It’s an instant icebreaker for our assistant coaches or me, particularly for kids who have not heard of Hugh Freeze outside of the states of Mississippi, Tennessee or Arkansas, the places I have coached."
“I think everyone has at least knowledge, if not seen the movie ‘The Blindside,’ the story of Michael Oher, which is a great introduction to who we are and how we want to go about treating your young son if he joins us. I definitely think it’s something we should use in recruiting.”
Asked if he carries around copies of the DVD around with him during visits, Freeze responded "I haven’t done that. But Michael Oher did an interview not too long ago, which he gave me an enormous amount of praise about our relationship and how he thinks I will do at Ole Miss. We’re certainly going to have that with us."
Along with locking up the top recruits in the state of Mississippi, Freeze aims to dip into Georgia as well for top talent. He added that him and his staff firmly believe that if your a recruit that can have success at Georgia, then you can have success at Ole Miss as well, and vice versa.
The head coach also explains his belief behind the three things recruits should choose a college based on. First on that list is the chance for academic success, followed by their chances for athletic success. "As far as athletic opportunities, there’s no greater place in the SEC right now to have a better chance to impact than ours right now. But I think the No. 3 thing they should consider that really makes you the best at items 1-2, is choose the right environment for you. The reality is, we’re probably not going to be the right fit for everybody, and they’re probably not going to be the right fit for us. I really believe strongly in getting the right fit for your core values, who you are, and the philosophy to which your program is going to build on
"I think the environment that we are going to create will attract a certain type of kid. That, combined with an athletic opportunity to compete early, be a trendsetter and trailblazer, and help us do something special here...hopefully will attract some of those Georgia kids to come with us.”
9 first round picks in two years?
Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide have put together an impressive run. They've rolled out two of the last three national titles, are second only to Stanford in BCS graduation rate, and they have also been able to churn out an impressive number of first round draft picks.
With the NFL draft starting on Thursday, Bama has 5 guys projected by many experts to go in the first round (although we all know the draft never works out quite the way it's projected). If they do end up having five guys go in the first round this season, on top of their 4 picks in the first 28 choices last season, it would mark an impressive run of 9 first round picks in a two year span.
Doing some quick research, we noticed that feat would rank right up there just behind Miami, who had 10 first round picks in a two year span back in 2003-2004 (including Kellen Winslow, Vince Wilfork and Andre Johnson) and just ahead of USC who churned out 7 first rounders in two seasons in 2008-2009 (including Mark Sanchez, Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews).
At a charity event yesterday in Mobile, Saban addressed that possibility, and noted that it's not necessarily where you get drafted that's important, what is important is the opportunity that they have after the draft and being able to take full advantage.
Video: Sports Science with Oklahoma State
Sports Science released a draft special highlighting Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon yesterday, and to see the type of talent that Mike Gundy, and Todd Monken have to work with in Stillwater is nothing short of impressive.
Brandon Weeden showed off his accuracy by taking out some clay pigeons, and Justin Blackmon showed his impressive range by being able to catch anything within the area comparable to the size of a two car garage. Once he got into his rhythm, Weeden took out 4 out of 5 clay pigeons at one point.
Seeing this display of talent, it's easy to see how the Cowboys finished with the #2 passing offense in the nation (387 ypg), #2 scoring offense (49 ppg), #7 in passing efficiency (160.78) and #3 in total offense (546 ypg).
John L. Smith to Arkansas
It's official. Arkansas is bringing back former assistant, and current Weber State head coach, John L. Smith to serve as the interim head coach for the season.
"I am extremely pleased to welcome Coach John L. Smith back to the Razorback program as our new head football coach. Coach Smith brings a wealth of football knowledge, BCS conference head coaching experience, passion for the game and a close familiarity with the current team and coaching staff. I firmly believe that his selection is in the best interests of the young men in our program and will also best serve the mission of our football program and university in achieving success on and off the field in the upcoming season and in the long term." Athletic Director Jeff Long said of the hire.
His contract will be for 10 months and be worth $850,000.
Smith has spent a total of 18 seasons as a head coach including stops at Weber State, Michigan State, Louisville, Utah State, and Idaho.
In the short term, this hire makes a ton of sense. First and foremost, the entire program and all the players are familiar with him. Also, bringing John L. back allowed the staff to remain completely intact and does volumes in terms of the continuity allowing first year Razorback coordinators Paul Petrino and Paul Haynes to focus on their offenses and defenses. Overall, the move keeps everyone on the same page.
We also saw a note earlier that Smith has worked with 8 out 9 of Arkansas' current assistants at one point or another in his career. That was surely a huge factor for Long.
Although this makes sense for the season, a number of sources that we talked to assured us that there will be a complete search for a permanent head coach come December.
As the official press release states, "Long announced the University of Arkansas will continue to evaluate the program and the head coaching position in anticipation of naming a head coach following the 2012 season. The current appointment will allow the program to identify a head coach for the future of the program in a timeframe that is more conducive to attracting the potential candidates expected for one of the nation's premier football head coaching positions."
Smith will be officially announced at a press conference tomorrow at 2 p.m CST.
As for Weber State, we'll keep you posted to how things play out. Their AD just took to twitter to voice his thoughts:
Wow, just when you think the pieces to the puzzle are all in place, something big happens to create chaos and the picture changes. Ouch!— Jerry Bovee (@JerryBovee) April 23, 2012
Ole Miss Video: "The Program"
Ole Miss just released a video entitled simply "The Program", highlighting the changes that the new coaching staff has brought on board, as well as the offensive and defensive philosophies.
Linebacker D.T Shackelford has been impressed with the amount of time that the coaches are putting in with interaction with the players off the field.
"I may get a text sometimes in the morning, and it has nothing pertaining to football. It's probably something about life, or in the afternoons I may get something saying we got film. It's just constant reminders and you can just tell they care."
Hugh Freeze made one thing very clear during the video. They will understand how to compete for an SEC West title.
"We're going to put ourselves in position in years to come to be in the mix for that. I understand how tough this conference is, but Ole Miss is going to put ourselves in the talks for the SEC West Championship and not only on the field, but also in recruiting classes. We refuse to think we can't compete with others for those titles."
As the first practice wrapped up, Freeze commended the team on their effort and attitude, and then reminded them to tell three people (trainers, coaches, managers, etc.) thank you on their way off the field.
"If you didn't notice, we try to make our practices as chaotic as possible. That way when you get into a stadium that's chaotic it's just a normal everyday for us" he added.
Very good video.
How to kick off a spring game
If you weren't a part of the impressive 81,112 people in attendance at the Ohio State spring game, you may have missed the "Circle Drill " that kicked things off.
Luckily, we came across some footage inside the drill that shows you just how intense things got.
After calling out a number of big fellas to butt heads in the center, Urban Meyer called out his two quarterbacks.
"Our quarterbacks are like everybody else. They've got to put their nose on people" Meyer explained. "You'e got to be very careful and very smart, and sometimes I'm accused of neither."
Why one coach calls the profession "easy"
Back in February, Nevada hired former Hawaii offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich to serve as their offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach. Even early on, Rolovich says that he and head coach Chris Ault have been able to really hit things off.
“One of the more shocking things about some of my first conversations with Coach Ault was how willing and open he is to change and to improve. A lot of coaches who have been around for a long time seem to be very stubborn with how they do things, and he is very far from that. He wants to improve. He wants a reason for a change, but he’s not afraid to change, and I didn’t expect that.”
Chris Murray of RGJ.com explained in an article over the weekend that everyone stemming from guys that have coached with him to his former players all agree that Rolo has what it takes to be successful.
June Jones said that his former assistant coach is one of those kind of guys that was going to be successful regarless of his career path. "He’s just one of those guys that people rally around. I knew whatever he was going to do he was going to be successful. If he was selling cars, he’d be the best car salesman in the world.”
He will rarely raise his voice during practice, keeps practice fun for the players, and integrates a certain psychological aspect in with his coaching style.
“Kids aren’t doing this because somebody is making them. They want to play, they want to be good and they want to get better. Kids learn different ways. I’m not huge yeller. I like to point out lessons when they’re there, but all these kids here, they want to be here, they want to get better, they want to accomplish something and they want to be great, and that’s what makes it easy.” Rolovich explained.
In quite possibly the most telling of the reviews of Nick Rolovich as a coach, June Jones added, “When players really like each other, they’ll win for you. When it’s fourth-and-one and they really like you, they’ll win for you. But when it’s fourth-and-one and players love you, they’ll die for you. Rolo has that special something where his teammates always loved him and would die for him. It’s the same thing for him as a coach.”