This weekend, don't miss...
Here at FootballScoop Headquarters, we're looking forward to another great weekend of college football. Our four suggestions:
Don’t miss Gary Danielson’s in-game analysis of Jim McElwain vs. Ellis Johnson
Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain and South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson are undoubtedly two of the most intelligent coordinators in the game. As well as any coaches in the country, both veteran coaches give their teams the best chance to win a championship by the way the build their units.
McElwain previously served on staffs at Fresno State, Oakland Raiders, Michigan State, Louisville, Montana State, and Eastern Washington.
Ellis Johnson previously served on staffs at Mississippi State, The Citadel (head coach), Alabama, Clemson, Southern Miss, Appalachian State, and Gardner-Webb (head coach).
Don’t miss watching the overall plan from Tennessee’s staff vs. Georgia’s staff.
Both coaching staffs have a number of coaches that have been a part of championship teams. Mark Richt turned up the intensity with some physical practices early in the week. Which team will make the fewest mistakes? Which team can most consistently execute their plan? How will Tennessee defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox try to limit AJ Green's effectiveness?
Don’t miss Illinois offensive coordinator Paul Petrino’s plan to move the ball at Penn State.
First-year Illinois offensive coordinator Paul Petrino has a tough task with a talented, but young quarterback (Nathan Scheelhaase) going up against Tom Bradley’s defense. Penn State, on the other side, starts a true freshman quarterback against Vic Koenning’s defense. It’s hard to win on the road, let alone with a first-year starting quarterback. Petrino is innovative. He'll probably have a few schemes the Nittany Lions haven't seen just yet, so we’re interested in seeing his plan to move the ball against Tom Bradley’s defense.
Don’t miss Lane Kiffin’s plan to make USC vs. Stanford a late fourth-quarter game.
Not a lot of people thought Kiffin would keep it close at Florida or at Alabama last year. At Florida, he run the heck out of the ball and kept the clock running. He’ll probably try to do some of the same to keep Andrew Luck off the field. Wonder if the Trojan’s will try a surprise onsides kick at some point? Tennessee used a surprise onsides last year against Memphis after a first quarter touchdown.
Jimbo: We've changed more on practice field, that's what I'm excited about
Listening to Jimbo Fisher this morning on the Tim Brando Radio Show, it seems the Oklahoma loss may have done the Seminoles a lot of good.
Fisher told Tim Brando, “They handled the situation coming out of Norman very well. Look, Oklahoma did a great job, they played a super game. But we learned from it. In all 3 phases, we have gotten much better since that game. I think our guys now understand the urgency you have to play with on every play.”
The on-field progress is certainly evident, but Jimbo made sure to point out he is most pleased with the Seminoles’ practice habits.
“We have changed more on the practice field. That’s what I’m excited about. Understanding how to prepare to play in those (big) games.”
Now, with three straight wins (BYU, Wake, Virginia) under their belt, the Seminoles are set to take on Miami (FL) this Saturday in Miami.
“We’re still preparing the same. The prepare syndrome…if you make an A on the test, then you let up. We’re not doing that. Our kids understand if we win this game, we are 3-0 in ACC. (They know) that doesn’t mean we win it.”
FSU vs. Miami (FL) is set for 8:00 pm EST.
Orgeron out of hospital, Billy Gonzales left a sticky note?
USC assistant Ed Orgeron admitted to hospital: Lane Kiffin said Orgeron was admitted with an infection, but should be able to coach on Saturday. Orgeron told ESPN’s Bruce Feldman on Thurday night that he was already out of the hospital.
Miami Herald reports strange Billy Gonzales story: Apparently, when Gonzales left Florida to join the LSU staff, he alerted Urban Meyer via a yellow sticky note. The article hints that Gonzales wasn’t too happy that he wasn’t named offensive coordinator after Dan Mullen left for Mississippi State.
Maryland new AD Kevin Anderson gives Ralph Friedgen a vote a confidence: "He's 4-and-1 right now. Continue on that path, I don't think we'll be having this discussion. "
Tuberville concerned about confidence level: "We have to build confidence in our players. Right now, our confidence is pretty low ... obviously with people pressing and making plays."
Jimbo Fisher praises offensive coordinator James Coley: "He could script it and call it and do it and he understands the big picture of things," Fisher said. "… He's big-picture guy. He really gets it."
Purdue and Mizzou coordinators on different ends
Purdue OC Gary Nord talks about Boiler’s injuries heading into game at Northwestern: "I've been here a year and a half. For this week's game, we don't have a quarterback that was here when I got here. We don't have a receiver that's going to play who was here when I got here. And we don't have a tailback who was here when I got here."
"Everybody is inexperienced."
Missouri DC Dave Steckel, on the other hand, loves his experience on defense: "I'm trying to picture in my mind who is playing this year that didn't play last year. I'm sure there are some, I'm sure you will come up with some. But I believe without thinking it through that everyone who's on that field played for us last year. So ... everything is a (closer) step to where we want to go."
"They're taking ownership in the takeaways. They're taking great pride in creating takeaways."
Billy Napier says continuity at WR will help Clemson passing game: "The passing game is very technical in terms of timing and consistency, so the competition at (wide receiver) has affected that to some degree. Last year, we knew who we had. Those guys consistently practiced with Kyle (Parker) and there was a comfort zone there.”
"As we move forward, I think we can improve in terms of continuity and comfort level and confidence. I also feel like we'll get better as a staff once we get that narrowed down and we have a comfort level with each kid and what we think their strengths are. We can show up each week and try to get the most out of what we got and ultimately that is our job."
Mike London concerned about Virginia speed: "There are players on each of the [ACC] teams that are left that have comparable speed (to FSU). You have to teach angles. You have to teach, you know, techniques. You've got to film study better, because you've got to try to create an edge for yourself that just speed alone won't beat you with."
"You respect the speed, but you don't shy from it or you don't run from it. You can only do what you do and do it with the talent that you have. And I like our talent."
Steve Sarkisian says it’s not the time to bring UW back down-to-earth: "I thought last year we beat SC and the first thought that comes to mind is you can't let the kids get on a high, you've got to get them down to reality. ... well sure enough we didn't play as well against Stanford as we did against USC, we brought them back down.''
“(This year) I want to keep playing as good as we are playing --- to bring them back down to earth doesn't make sense, we are on earth.''
Kiffin wants more from linebackers: “We’ve not gotten significant plays from that group. It hasn’t been where you watch the film and say, wow, they’re blowing a bunch of assignments or missing a ton of tackles. They’re playing OK. But there’s been no significant plays – the big sack, the big fumble, the big interception, the big play on a ball that’s going to be a first down and they knock it out. For whatever reason, that’s just the way it’s been.”
Kentucky wide receiver Randall Cobb is “pissed off” : "I'm pissed off. I'm practicing pissed off and I'm going to play pissed off this week. I'm sick of losing. We've lost two straight, and I'm going to motivate my teammates however I can this week for them to play with a pissed-off attitude."
Utah cancels 3-game series against Boise State: Utah canceled a three-game series with Boise State in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The buyout for the Boise State games will cost a total of $350,000.
Crowton may coach from sidelines, SEC takeaways, and Tracy Rocker's goals
Les Miles says offensive coordinator Gary Crowton may move to sidelines: “We talked possibly about being on the field for Coach Crowton. We’re still talking about it. The communication between Gary and I is not the issue. The issue is making sure the quarterbacks get the information and have somebody to meet with immediately.”
“I think the play-calling, minus the back-end (Tennessee game), was excellent.”
Takeaways by SEC teams over last 3 years : FL 72, Bama 69, Van 56, TN 54, OM 53, Aub 52, Ark 51, SC 51, KY 50, MSU 48, LSU 48, GEORGIA 34.
Auburn defensive line coach Tracy Rocker talks about defensive line goals: “That’s a selling point everyday in the meeting room. We’re going to have to create plays as this year keeps going on and on. We’re in a big month now and it will prepare us for November.”
“Everybody keeps talking about us hitting the quarterback. I’m proud of it. I’m proud of what we do every game. I think they enjoy that, but as a coach, you always come back to, my selling point everyday… “Can you do it again? Can you do it again? And that’s what it boils down to. Can we do it again?”
“I’m not asking them to knock the guy out. Our job is to pressure the quarterback, sack the quarterback, and contain the quarterback. After that, do your job…stop the run and keep things in front of us. I want everyone to play within the defense, understand the structure of it, and keep improving.”
Quoting UCLA defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough: "We got a lot of young guys playing, so you can't get too complicated or it won't look pretty. We can do more as they understand the concepts. If you make them start thinking too much, you'll take away their speed."
Illinois DC Vic Koenning concerned about depth: "There's really not a middle ground for us. We've got to be hammer-down, playing as hard as we can play with a high motor and almost be electric -- or we're not very good."
"We haven't been worth [crud] in my thought (in red zone). We don't have enough safeties or enough D-linemen to play goal-line package, so have to continue to play our base package. It’s been something we need to do a better job of and work on it. But in fairness to us, we're handicapped down there."
Doug Marrone says USF defense running to ball better than last year: “This isn’t any disrespect for the coaches last year. I’ve only seen them one year, but I do see them running to the football and doing a lot of good things technically. They’re running to the football with more discipline and more hustle, and they have great athletes on the field.”
Lane Kiffin: 12 new guys from science class haven't broken depth chart
Brian Kelly, Chip Kelly, and Lane Kiffin have all recently complimented, above and beyond, Jim Harbaugh’s team at Stanford.
When USC travels to Palo Alto this weekend, Kiffin has two major concerns. His place-kickers were 0-6 in practice on Wednesday and Stanford’s overall physical play could potentially become a problem for the Trojans.
Kiffin said, "The style that they are playing is exactly the style that we hope to play. They don't make many mistakes and they are very physical. To that end, the head coach amped up the hitting in what he called "the most physical practice since the Spring."
Depth continues to be a major problem for the Trojans.
Kiffin made us laugh when he said after Wednesday’s practice, “We brought in those 12 new guys from science class and none of them seemed to have really broken into our depth chart. We counted today we think there are 5 guys on our defensive service team that have never played football before. We really haven’t found more depth and we’re not going to.”
Saban & Nutt talk BYE weeks, big wins for Al Golden & Bob Toledo
Saban talks about BYE weeks: "Everybody out there assumes that having a bye week is an advantage. I've always answered that question by saying, 'I don't know if it's an advantage or disadvantage.' "
"I'm not saying I'm right and you're wrong, but the statistics kind of prove that it's not an advantage or disadvantage to have a bye week.”
Houston Nutt jokes about Bama: "First of all, everybody should have an open date against Alabama, because they're so good. It hasn't helped too many people it doesn't look like. ...We'll just have to wait and see. All I know is we desperately needed it."
Al Golden calls win over Army “biggest win since I’ve been here” : “That’s the biggest win since I’ve been here, make no mistake. In that kind of environment, to stay together, to be down 15 and then reel off 29 straight, that’s a big win and credit to our coaches. Matt Rhule on offense called a great second half and then Mark D’Onofrio did a tremendous job setting the defense down. That’s the biggest win I’ve had here.”
Tulane head coach Bob Toledo talks about BIG win over Rutgers: “It starts giving you credibility because you’ve been saying, ‘This is what’s going to happen, it’s going to take a while, we’re doing it with freshmen, they’ve got to mature and eventually it’ll happen. And then all of a sudden this happens and they say, ‘Maybe he knows what he’s talking about,’ instead of, ‘He’s an old fossil who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.’”
Pat Fitzgerald would like Northwestern to put it all together: "We have not put together four quarters of Wildcat football yet. We've been fortunate to find a way to win, and we've got a lot of work to do. No one around here is feeling fat and happy. There's a real focus and an attention-to-detail attitude right now."
“I take full responsibility for that. The discipline of a football team falls on the head football coach. We've got to do a better job with some of our substitutions with some of our young receivers. ... We've got to have better communication and better focus. We had five presnap penalties [against Minnesota] that were all communication-based and three of those were on [quarterback] Danny [Persa]. We've got to be better than that.”
San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke concerned about KOR and penalties: "We aren't doing some things right. Number one, our kickoff return is abysmal. We're not doing great there. We have way too many penalties for where we'd like to be, and those penalties that are before the ball's snapped are the ones that just drive you nuts as a fan and as a coach."
Paul Rhoads talks about Utah: "That's a team that understands exactly what it is they're supposed to do at all phases, and plays it lights out. You do that when you have a culture that's established, and they clearly have that culture established. When you do that, you start winning games, and when you start winning games like that, you start to feel very confident and invincible when it comes to taking the field. They play extremely, extremely confident."
Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green proud of defense: "I'm really proud of some of the young guys that hadn't had a whole lot of playing experience. I think they've gotten better and better."
Quoting Tommy Tuberville: "I’ve been through this before. There’s nothing you can say. I’d love for the Dallas Cowboys to be undefeated, too. I’ve been a (Cowboys') fan all my life. It happens. Other teams play, too. They don’t care how good you’re supposed to be or how good you’re not. They’re going to play and try to play better than you.''
Army head coach Ellerson won't assess team
Army is 3-2 heading into this weekend’s game at Tulane. The Cadets only losses have come to Hawaii (31-28) and Temple (42-35).
Head coach Rich Ellerson wants total focus on defeating Tulane. When asked to assess where his team stands at this point after 5 games, Ellerson responded, "I'm not going to address that. I want to honor the expectations of our football team, and that's to win our next game. This is not a moment to be sticking our head up and looking around and trying to gauge where we are from a season perspective. I'm not going to engage in that, and I'm praying that our players are not engaging in that. Those are the kinds of discussions, those are the kind of thoughtful distractions that will subtract from our chances of winning this week. We have to try to be 1-0 this week. We have to be prepared for the next practice. You've heard me over and over again say that, but the good news is that we're playing well. I can honestly say that. I think we're playing well enough, and have played well enough, in every phase of the game. We're close enough that we feel like we can play with these guys. We've got a chance, but it's so fragile. We have to be so right. We have to be so on point. We have to be emotionally calloused so that as the game ebbs and flows, we can clear and stay in the moment and win the next snap. That's our challenge. The good news is I think we're up to it. Now, we have to go out and practice and prove it."
Part of the reason the Cadets are playing better is their #2 national ranking in turnover margin.
Ellerson said during Tuesday’s press conference, “We're not going to run anybody out of the stadium with our speed and strength and athleticism, but we're strong enough, fast enough and athletic enough. If we're on point and precise and executing our systems we can play with anybody on our schedule. That's the good news. The good news is we can compete. The bad news is there's no margin for error out there. We need to be on point, and we need to be there this afternoon."
Kick-off in the Superdome is set for 2:30 pm on Saturday.