Paul Johnson: 'Special guests not my thing.' Sean Payton bringing in Derek Fisher
A really low-keyed Paul Johnson answered questions this morning during his weekly game-week press conference.
Asked if Georgia Tech is where they should be heading into Saturday’s game against South Carolina State, Johnson said, “I don’t know. We’ll find out.”
Johnson did say, however, that he feels much better going into the season-opener this year than he did in 2008.
“We’re a lot better football team. A lot. I had no idea what we would see two years ago on that Thursday night. I have a pretty good idea of what we’ll see Saturday.”
(on Al Groh’s defense) “The big thing to me is can they not have a bunch of mental assignments. We’ll find out how they’re going to react the first time they (opponent) get a few first downs.”
Unlike New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, Paul Johnson doesn’t like to bring in guest speakers. Johnson said, “I don’t think I’ve had a special guest come in and talk to the guys since I’ve been here. It’s not my thing.”
Payton, reportedly, will have Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher address his team before the Saints’ season opener. Fisher has won back-2-back world championships, something the Saints will try to do.
June Jones: If I went to Florida and tried this approach...
So why is the SMU head coaching job perfect for June Jones?
According to Jones, "I have to admit that because of the way that I do it, these are the only jobs that I really want to take. Because they've tried everything else. If I went to Florida and tried this approach, there would be 42 coaches in the press box saying, 'This guy screwed up. We can't do this and be SEC champions."'
The Mustangs’ third-year head coach added, "A lot of guys take these jobs that have lost forever and it's old school, you gotta be tougher, you gotta be more physical. But to come to this school and build a team on defense is not going to happen. The turnaround stuff to me is playing an exciting brand of football where you go and try to win the game on every play."
With only three rules: Go to class, come to practice, and give maximum effort…"It's not that hard," he said. "If you can't play for me, you can't play for anybody."
After a 1-11 year #1, Jones led SMU to an 8-5 season in 2009.
SMU opens the 2010 season at Texas Tech this Sunday at 3:30 pm EST. ESPN will broadcast the game. You can see the entire Week #1 TV Schedule right here.
Mike Stoops on his play caller: It's irrelevant to me
When asked to identify the coach that will be calling the offensive plays this season for the Wildcats, Arizona head coach Mike Stoops responded, “It's irrelevant to me."
Arizona travels to Toledo to play a Friday night game on ESPN.
Most suspect that either Seth Littrell (co-offensive coordinator / running backs) or Bill Bedenbaugh (co-offensive coordinator / run game coordinator / offensive line) will call the plays.
Bedenbaugh admits, however, it can be difficult for an offensive line coach to call the plays.
Bedenbaugh stated, "One of the reasons you don't see offensive line coaches calling the plays is because it's so hard to do. Mark Mangino did it at Oklahoma, but I can't think of many others. When I worked with Robert Anae at Texas Tech, he coached the offensive line. When he went to BYU, to become the coordinator, he switched to coaching receivers. It's just too hard focusing on those five guys, making adjustments, to call the plays, too. Between series, Seth and I will evaluate what's working. He's got to be tuned in to it all the time."
Kick-off on Friday night is set for 7 pm EST on ESPN.
Charlie Strong compares Cards to 0-11 South Carolina team from 1999
During Charlie Strong’s press conference on Monday afternoon, the first-year head coach compared his team to a team that went 0-11.
Strong, who served on Lou Holtz’ staff at South Carolina in 1999, said this Louisville team is like that South Carolina team.
Strong stated, “I compare this football team to my first year at South Carolina in 1999. We were a bad football team, but then as the season went, we kind of got better each game. Then, the next two years we go win the Outback Bowl. With this football team, it is just that leadership is missing. Once you get some leadership into this program, and with the whole new coaching staff, you have guys who really do not know what to expect. With the practices, the guys were like, ‘Coach, we really did not know practice was going to be so hard.’ Once the coaches and players get to know each other better, then the program will be able to take off.”
“My biggest concern is they beat us the last three years, so they should have a lot of confidence because of what has happened in the past and we are one of those teams still searching for an identity of who we are right now and it is a team that will continue to build each game and get better each game.”
Let’s hope for Strong’s sake that his Cardinals can score more than 10 points in a game this year. The 1999 South Carolina squad topped 10 points just twice during the season.
Louisville hosts Kentucky at 3:30 pm EST on Saturday. ABC will broadcast the game.
Tuesday morning Coaches Quick Hits
Some interesting quotes from around the country:
Sarkisian talks about his playing days at BYU: "One thing that was hard for me...I am not a big shaver. I will go a couple days without shaving. At BYU, you are not supposed to have facial hair. That one was tough for me, you gotta go in the testing center, and you are not cleanly shaven, and they kick you back out. You gotta go home and shave before you come back and take your test. So I had a little bit of a difficult time with that one."
Houston Nutt says Masoli not cleared by NCAA yet, explains QB situation: "I do not know when. I'm expecting today or tomorrow at the latest. It has been difficult using all of them. Right now we are going into the game thinking Nathan Stanley and Randall Mackey. I am not afraid to put either of them into the game. Nathan Stanley has gotten better. Jeremiah [Masoli] has raised everybody's competition level. Randall Mackey has thrown the ball very well. When you put him in certain situations, going against good defenses, he can throw the ball extremely well. I am excited that we have these three guys, and I hope Masoli's deal works out. Right now you have to prepare for Nathan Stanley and Randall Mackey."
"We are hoping again to hear a decision in the next day or two. The majority of the repetitions will go to Stanley and Mackey. Jeremiah has seasons under his belt. He has played in the Rose Bowl and the Holiday Bowl. He has been there before and you can tell when he scrambles and makes plays. I am not as concerned about him as I am with those other guys and getting them ready to go in the next few days. They all have strengths. The thing about Randall is that he is very elusive and quick and has escape ability. When he is in the shot-gun, he his very comfortable. He has a good package and is comfortable with it."
Texas A&M DC Tim DeRuyter talks about four goals: “We’ve got 4 components of what we talk about championship defense. We talk about takeaways, getting stops, playing physical, and the last one is ‘fanatical effort.’ One of our charts to our defense, it doesn’t matter who we play, the people at Kyle Field want to see a team that has ‘fanatical effort’ to the ball.”
Mike Gundy explains Dana Holgorsen hire: "When I got out of the play-calling I wanted a guy who was a good play-caller. I wanted to take that step before deciding what style of offense we wanted to run here, taking recruiting into consideration. Coach Holgorsen was a guy that had a history of being a really good play-caller which interested me.”
"Secondly, the number of players that fit this style of play we're running with this offense is much greater than the traditional style of offense we had run here in the past. It gives us more players to recruit."
Joker Phillips describes his style: I like the attack. I did it in 2007. I don't know if people would classify me in 2008 and '09. But I want to be aggressive, get the ball down the field. Tony gave me a stat that in 2007 our average scoring drive was two minutes. That's attacking to me. But in the last two years we haven't been able to do that. But we want to be able to get the ball down the field and score points as quickly as possible. That would mean that I like to attack people and get the ball in the end zone.
Joker Phillips says Randy Sanders will call the game from press box: “Randy will call the plays from the box. I'll listen. We all will have input, okay? We'll all have input. I expect Steve Brown to have input on offense. He's got to tell us what's going on if he sees something. We can't waste any eyes. We can't have Steve Brown up in the box and not looking at the game, looking at something that he sees that can help us. Same thing with Randy Sanders on defense. If he sees something that the offense is doing that he thinks we can take advantage of, (for example) expect him to tell us that we need to blitz from the weak side.”
Bret Bielema is pleased with the accountability of the Wisconsin players: “If accountability factors into that, I know this, a team that’s accountable to one another, without even the coaches getting involved, is probably going to have your best chances to win. And this group really has shown me some signs of doing that, going back to in the winter conditioning, throughout the spring and the summer, but then really this fall, the way they, when they recognize a freshman and saw that he had the ability to maybe help us, staying after and working with him, I guarantee you, our defensive line recognized right away that we needed some defensive tackles to come in.”
UTEP head coach Mike Price on spending time in the community: “Some do and some don’t. I don’t know how important it is. I’ve just kind of embraced El Paso and the culture, and they’ve embraced me. It’s been a real good marriage so to speak. I think this is a wonderful, wonderful community, and I really like getting out and talking with the people. It’s different than some of the places I’ve been. When I was at Washington State University, I had the whole state to go and speak. You’re going to every little nook and cranny in the entire state. That was more demanding and harder than this.”
NIU head coach Jerry Kill on pushing the underdog role: "I've never, since I've been here, it's been right or wrong since I've been coaching. We've been fortunate to have some good wins at places I've been. You all get tired of hearing it, my wife gets tired of hearing it...but you just take one game at a time. It's not like basketball where you play Tuesday and Thursday. You only have so many opportunities to do so, so you really lock in on that one, and when it's over, you really sulk on the way home or you're happy about it on the way home. Then, you have to turn around and go right onto the next week. You really don't have time to enjoy or whatever before you're moving on.”
"I never talk about being the underdog. I feel like any time you put the uniform on, whether you play here or at Iowa State or at Tennessee, you're preparing to be successful and win. That's what you're supposed to do as a coach. So I never talk about underdogs. I don't get into, `this coach said this' or `this guy said that.' To me, when the whistle blows, nobody is thinking about what anyone said. They're thinking about playing football between those white lines. Where you play it or when it happens, I think when you approach it that way your kids just go out there and play. I've seen over the last two years, for the most part, that when we play our non-conference opponents our kids just went out there and played. We've had some success at times and haven't been successful at times, but we've been pretty darn close on about every game we've played non-conference wise. That's all you ask is to do your best during that particular time."
Troy Calhoun says Air Force won’t hold back anything vs. Northwestern State: “No way. No way, not a chance. We have a full-fledged game plan and we’ve game-planned this game as hard as any game we’ve ever prepared for.”
Quoting Western Michigan corners coach Amp Campbell: “He (Mark Dantonio) was one of the guys who called Coach Cubit to get me this job. There’s not anything in the world I wouldn’t do for him and I’m pretty sure there’s not anything in the world he wouldn’t do for me. We have a great relationship, a great bond. And he taught me everything I know at this position. Him and coach Saban.”
Lane Kiffin has 2 big concerns going into Hawaii game
Lane Kiffin answered questions for seven minutes today during his Hawaii week press conference. Interestingly, the presser seemed controlled as all seventeen questions were asked by the same person.
Having not tackled since the first week of camp due to low numbers, Kiffin said he has two big concerns.
Kiffin stated, “Those are our two biggest concerns going into this game will be how well are we going to tackle and holding on to the ball having not taken big hits with our ball carriers.”
(on if the D-Line will be the most dominant unit for USC) “Yeah, I think so. They’ve had a great camp. They will be the key to our defense up front. Staying healthy, playing extremely physical, and stopping the run after this week because these guys (Hawaii) don’t really run the ball, but after that.”
(on if the special teams will be improved) “It better. We spend enough time on it. From the first day we got here, we spent a whole bunch of time on special teams. We’re going to have to do a great job on special teams in order to continue to operate at a championship level.”
(on the trip to Hawaii) “A lot of distractions. A long flight. Going out there…foreign atmosphere. A very tough, physical team that we play. A loud crowd. We have to limit distractions. We’re not going out there for vacation. We’re going out there for business.”
Caldwell: I hope it doesn't come down to me and Coach Fitz, Lord have mercy.
Vanderbilt hosts Northwestern on Saturday night in Robbie Caldwell’s first game as head coach of the Commodores.
During Monday’s press conference, a reporter asked Caldwell, “This game is being called the 'Brain Bowl.' Did you ever think you would be in a game like that?”
The pure and honest Caldwell responded, "Oh, I hope it doesn’t come down to me and Coach Fitzgerald, Lord have mercy. I have an education I just don’t care to use it."
In regards to joining the twitter world, Caldwell said, "I tell you the truth, I don’t know much about it. I just need to thank Michael Hazel and everyone else around here for that. One thing they haven’t done is shown me how to do it on my phone. I don’t get to a computer, they forgot about that. I’m not a computer man. I like to get in the office and meet with people and watch tape and all that stuff so that’s the one thing they didn’t think about so it’s hard for me to get to. When I do I like to peck on it though, it’s fun. I had to look up the word ‘Tweet’ or ‘Twitter’ was and whatever it meant. I’ve had a few players we’ve had over the years that we’ve called ‘Chirp’ or ‘Tweet’ so maybe we started that, I don’t know. We might have invented that term. We have a coach down in South Carolina right now that we called ‘Chirp’ because he tweeted all the time. He was always chirping about something. Could be."
Ask what will be different for the head coach personally, Caldwell said, “I have brothers and sisters coming who normally wouldn’t leave the outskirts of our little town so it’s going to be pretty neat."
Remember, you can follow Coach Caldwell’s tweets in the FootballScoop Twitter Center.
Kick-off between Vanderbilt and Northwestern is set for 7:30 pm EST. CSS will broadcast the game.
Les Miles pumped about 25k Tiger fans invading Georgia Dome
LSU head coach Les Miles knows the Tigers’ offense will face a defense stacked with NFL-talent on Saturday night against North Carolina.
During his Monday afternoon presser, Miles got the juices flowing in Baton Rouge.
The fifth-year LSU head coach said, “I can tell you that our team has been told that around 25,000 LSU fans will join us in the (Georgia) dome and we can't wait. Our team enjoys when the purple and gold files into a stadium that we are playing in.”
“Our push certainly is to play an LSU style of football. That involves a quality running game, a very capable throwing game, a defense that flies to the football and tackles, and special team units that are dominant with great speed in coverage and great speed on those that can return kicks. That is our plan is to play LSU football.”
One of the keys offensively, according to Miles, will be for the Tigers to run more plays than last season’s average number of offensive snaps per game.
"It is going to be based on execution. The more that you have first downs, the more that you move the chains it stands to reason that the longer your drives the more plays you get. If we can run the football more efficiently and if we can throw it more efficiently you are going to find that your offense is more capable of getting more plays, so that is our push.”
Kick-off between LSU and UNC is set for 8:30 pm EST on ABC.