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Jimbo: The difference between the SEC and ACC is a hill of beans

Jimbo Fisher just wrapped up a radio interview with the guys at 790 The Ticket in Atlanta.

It's hard to imagine any head coach in the country feeling better about their quarterback than Fisher.

Speaking about EJ Manuel, Fisher explained, “(Manuel) has the respect of his teammates and I think that’s the most important thing you can have as a quarterback.”

“He’s extremely competitive, has great intelligence, has the ability to process information, and is very physically gifted as a thrower and runner.  He leads verbally and by example with his work ethic.  He understands what it takes to be a champion, in my opinion.  He exhibits all the qualities that a championship quality quarterback does.”

“He’s so athletic.  He’s always on balance.  He understands how to make decisions.  He had great body control, which allows him to be accurate with the ball.”

Reflecting back on his first year, including a blowout loss at Oklahoma and two “last play” heartbreakers, Fisher noted, “We handled situations well.  Our team and organization responded well.  From that standpoint, it was a very successful season.  I was very pleased with our staff and administration with how we handled the whole situation (first year).”

Fisher made an interesting statement regarding the ACC and SEC.

“Player-wise, this conference is as good as any conference in America.  The difference between the SEC and ACC, as far as players, is a hill of beans.  There’s not much difference.”

He wrapped with the talk by talking about the thing that he is most excited about with the 2011 Seminoles.

“The attitude is the thing that I’m happiest about our team…and they are a TEAM.”

Tracy Claeys: There's been 10 d-coordinators here in last 20 years

Minnesota defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys has four goals for the Gophers defense each week.

1. Hold the opponent to 17 points or less

2. Limit the opponent to 3.2 yards per carry or less

3. Win 65% of third-down opportunities

4. Create 3 or more turnovers

Claeys explained the challenge this season to Twin Cities ESPN 1500, “I think we can play good defense. Now, are kids willing to go through that process every week and prepare themselves the same and look at every opponent the same and say, 'It's not who we play, but how we play each week?' If we live up to those standards, we have a chance. If the kids have the will, and they want to do that part of it.”

“Like I said, there's no challenges during the spring, and so the first time things go bad, we're going to find out who's going to stick together and who's not. I think we have a chance to just keep building, but the past has nothing to do with it. Like I told Coach (Kill), if I did (think the Gophers couldn't play good defense), I would've never come with him.”

“There's been 10 D-coordinators here in the last 20 years. That's not really good job stability on my part, and so those things you got to let it go. Not to say you can't learn from the past and some things that have went on, but that's not going to have anything to do with if we play good on defense or don't. The past 20 years is not going to affect that.”

Claeys may puke if the Gophers only have 9 sacks like they did a year ago.

He explained, “It bothers me. That's just something whether it's the Big Ten or Conference USA, it doesn't matter. The quarterback has to make decisions under pressure and not sit back there and do what he wants to do or let a coach signal in from the sideline of what he wants to throw. Every secondary coverage, there's a weakness to it, and the way you cover it up is by getting to the quarterback.”

“Make the ball come out quicker; the quicker the ball comes out, the more people can chase and run. You can watch game after game whether on Saturday or Sunday, it doesn't matter. Bad things happen when the quarterback can hold onto the football. I've been very blunt with the kids -- that's a situation that has to be corrected, and without blitzing 25 times a game. You know you have to be able to put pressure on the QB and get him get the ball out. I told someone the other day, 'If you look up and halfway through the season we only have nine sacks, we're going to struggle. We're not getting things accomplished we need to get accomplished.”

The Gophers open at USC.  The next three games are at home against New Mexico State, Miami (OH), and North Dakota State.

George Deleone: I've got to get up to speed technology-wise

UCONN offensive coordinator / tight ends coach George Deleone began coaching in 1970.

Deleone has coached at Southern Connecticut State, Rutgers, Holy Cross, Syracuse, San Diego Chargers, Syracuse (again), Ole Miss, Temple, Miami Dolphins, and UCONN.

A lot has changed over that time, especially in technology and recruiting.

Deleone told the Hartford Courant, “I can't do the freaking thing; it's ridiculous. But you can't function without it (social media), and you know what? I'm going to have to get better at it.”

Deleone best summed things up by saying, “They're not adapting to what I do."

He added, “Right now I've been going on e-mails and I've got my young coaches over there and they help me stay in touch on Facebook, but I'm gonna say this to you: I've got to get up to speed technology-wise. The big thing for me right now is being able to turn on the computer. I absolutely have to get up to speed. A lot of that technology has infiltrated young America, and that's our clientele, so we have to adapt to what they do.”

We have a couple of recommendations for Coach Deleone and any others in a similiar situation.

1. Download the FootballScoop iPhone app

2. Create a twitter account and then download the twitter app on your phone

3. Be sure follow @footballscoop

4. Create a facebook page, then find the FootballScoop Staff on facebook.  Almost 5,000 coaches have friended us on facebook.

Joe Paterno explains his plan to handle quarterback decision

Joe Paterno feels this year's team at Penn State is more willing to accept tough coaching that last year's team.  Paterno believes the Nittany Lions will be improved, but he isn't close to naming a starting quarterback.

A year ago, Paterno allowed his nine assistant coaches to vote on the starting quarterback at the beginning of the year.  Paterno admitted to the Reading Eagle that he didn't want true freshman Rob Bolden to start, but all nine assistants voted for Bolden, so Bolden started.

Joe Pa explained, Because I thought he (Bolden) was a little too young. He hadn't been here for spring practice. He had just been in high school. He had never played before 100,000 people in an environment such as Alabama. So I was concerned about that and I laid back a little bit because the guys were all gung-ho about it.”

Not surprisingly, Joe Pa is going to let the quarterback battle play itself out during August camp.

He explained, “I'm assuming he's (Bolden) going to come back unless he tells me otherwise. I think in all fairness to the kid, he ought to be looking forward to enjoying it. Most of these kids are pretty good kids, just like the (Pat) Devlin kid.”

“Devlin and his dad sat in my kitchen. The dad said he needed two years to be a pro. I said, ‘He could have two years here.’ He went to Delaware and took him to a national championship game. I thought he'd be a pretty good draft pick, and he didn't even get drafted. He's better than that. I like Devlin, but (Daryll) Clark had done a good job, and I wasn't about to just.” 

“I'm going to play the guy who's best for the team as long as the kid works at it. Devlin may have beaten out Clark if he had come back, I don't know. But the year we played Clark ahead of Devlin (2008), I thought Clark was better for that team. Right now, I wouldn't know for sure which one of the two kids (Bolden or Matt McGloin) would start. I'd sit down and tell them what I'm thinking. I don't want them to read about it in the press.”

Sounds like a veteran head coach.

Penn State opens with Indiana State.  Alabama visits Happy Valley in week #2 for a 3:30 pm EST kick-off.  


Andy Ludwig: I don't know what more you could ask for...

Andy Ludwig is gearing up for his first season as the offensive coordinator at San Diego State.  Ludwig joined Rocky Long’s staff after serving as the offensive coordinator at Cal last season.

It was an easy decision for Ludwig, who feels very comfortable with the offensive personnel at San Diego State.  He is looking forward to coaching senior quarterback Ryan Lindley, who is on his third different offensive coordinator as a starter.

Ludwig told XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego, “I really feel like my job is to make sure it (our personnel) fits what I want to do. With a four year starter at quarterback, a 1500 yard rusher at tailback, four or five returning o-lineman, and a good group of tight ends…I don’t know what more you could ask for as an offensive coordinator.”

“It will be pro-style, west-coast emphasis that ensures we are featuring the quarterback and tailback.”

Ludwig made it seem the Rocky Long isn’t radically changing the way things were done under former head coach Brady Hoke.

“I don’t think it’s a new philosophy at all.  I think Brady Hoke coached toughness and demanded high character out of his players and I see the same thing out of Coach Long.”

Asked if overall depth is the biggest difference between some of the bigger schools that he has coached at, Ludwig said, “That’s my initial impression.  It’s the depth.  But again, I think the younger players that we are bringing in are quality guys.  I feel good about our personnel across the board.”

San Diego State opens with four non-conference games including Cal Poly, at Army, Washington State, and at Michigan.

Cutcliffe blames himself for Bama game, looks forward to hosting Stanford

Duke head coach David Cutcliffe believes the Blue Devils are close and he knows what has to happen to produce more wins.

During a radio interview on Thursday, Cutcliffe said, “I know we’re better.  We just have to produce wins.  That’s the bottom line.”

“We played well last year, (but) we didn’t win.  We lost five ACC football games that we very easily could have won, three by five points, one by six, and one by ten at Georgia Tech when we were leading but managed to throw a pick-six.”

“We have to take care of the football and we certainly have to play better defense.  If we can do those things and do them much better, we can have a really fine football team.”

Cutcliffe is hoping for a much improved season from quarterback Sean Renfree, who threw 17 interceptions a year ago.

Cutcliffe explained about Renfree, “It’s a mental thing.  Not trying to win games.  Shaun is really athletic and people don’t know it.  I want him to relax.  When are they going to turn the corner.  He takes that personally and is out there trying to win games on every possession.  You can’t play quarterback like that.  He has matured.  He’s watched hours of more film.  He’s watched those seventeen interceptions. I think he has a much better grip on who he is and how to go about winning football games as a quarterback.”

Last year, Duke hosted Alabama at Wallace-Wade Stadium.  The Crimson Tide won 62-13.  Cutcliffe, who is usually one of the best in preparing for marquee games, seemed disappointed with himself in the preparation for Alabama.

This year, the Stanford Cardinal will travel to Duke in week #2.

Cutcliffe said, “A year ago, Alabama came to town and we laid an egg.  I think I underestimated the emotions.  We were drained before we ever played the game.  I just didn’t manage, it was kinda normal for me, but that’s what I’ve done my entire career.  Our team was just spent.  I think we’re better equipped this time and I think we’ll play really well against Stanford.”

Dooley addresses potential multi-year scholarships

Early in the week, we made an SEC Media Days prediction that,Dooley will spend at least 40% of the time talking about rule changes, NCAA stuff, athletic director questions (the stuff other than this year’s team).”

In the words of a loyal FootballScoop reader, “It wasn't your wildest prediction in the article, but you were correct on Dooley.”

The Tennessee head coach loves to talk, which leads us to Andrew Gribble’s article this morning with a stunning title…“Dooley Not Afraid to Share Opinions.”

Addressing the topic of potential multi-year scholarships that Mike Slive is interested in, Dooley didn’t hesitate to offer his opinion.

Dooley explained, "I hear about how it's so awful when a player gets a scholarship taken away. I'm sitting there going, 'Universities give academic scholarships all the time, and if a student doesn't meet certain academic requirements, they take it away from them.'"

"It's no different to me in athletics. We have a commitment to them, and they have a commitment to us. So we're giving them a benefit and they're giving us a benefit. That's why it's a contract."

Good point, young Derek.


Pat Fitzgerald talks about money and text messaging

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald has a thought about alleviating the financial pressures on college football players.

Fitzgerald told ESPN, “What's the easiest way to do it? Get their tax returns, get their family's tax returns and then create a scale.”

“That's one thing I thought about. Create a scale. If you're whatever percent above, you don't get anything. If you're below it, then you get (funds) based on your need. There's the easiest thing to do. To base it on revenue generated for a school, no way, no way. Now we're not talking about amateur sports."

It’s an interesting thought, one that Fitzgerald could probably expand much more upon.

Fitz also offered his opinion on text messaging.  We’re sure some coaches would definitely agree with Fitz on this one.

He said, "We don't need to text message. I think the quality of life factor for the student-athletes we realize when we had it, and on the coaching side when we had the ability to text message was awful for both sides. I'm not for that. I'm not for that for our assistant coaches. I do like the ability to communicate with the kids and build a relationship, and we can do that right now via Facebook, so we don't need it.”

On Wednesday, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said the text messaging just makes sense.  Slive said it’s ridiculous that text messages have caused probations.  In reality, that’s how young people communicate, so you might as well text.

If only they could come to a happy medium where coaches couldn't and wouldn't feel obligated to send "recruiting" texts. But that's not going to happen.