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Derek Mason explains new goals for Stanford defense

Over on The Farm, Vic Fangio is gone, but Stanford co-defensive coordinator / defensive backs coach Derek Mason says the Cardinal won’t change much of the defensive scheme.

Mason says, “We're taking the approach, if it's not broken, don't fix it. We'll stay with the same basic packages with some variations, but we're trying to build a defensive tradition at Stanford. We felt like last year was the first phase. Some of the players who were here are now gone. The foundation has been laid and now it's time for the walls to go up. We're moving into Phase Two.”

The only new coach to the Stanford defensive staff this year is former San Francisco 49ers outside linebackers coach Jason Tarver.  He joins Mason, Lance Anderson, and Randy Hart.

Mason says, “The bottom line is we can't stay the same. We'll be a different football team in 2011 based on our personnel but our philosophy will be the same. We want to be physical, play knockback football and make sure we play with a high level of intensity.”

“The game is about limiting the run and stopping explosive plays. If we can get off the field on third down and get the ball back into that guy's hands - and we all know who "that" guy is - then we'll be successful.”

Stanford opens with San Jose State before traveling to Duke and Arizona.  The final three games all are in Palo Alto against Oregon, Cal, and Notre Dame.

Stanford will play their spring game next Saturday in San Francisco.  You gotta see the promo video for the game.  It’s not your normal marketing strategy.

Spurrier handcuffed, makes annoucement

It’s been an interesting couple of days for Steve Spurrier.

First, the South Carolina head coach had handcuffs placed on him by the Columbia police department.  (See the video at the 1:30 mark.)

Then on Tuesday, Spurrier made it clear that he’s going to coach another three or four years.

Spurrier told The Sporting News, “I think we have the best talent since I’ve been here and I’m feeling really good about where the program is at and where I’m at. I’ve got at least three or four more years in me."

“I feel like I’ve been saying three or four more years since I was 50, and now I’m 65 and saying the same thing. But I really mean it.”

Spurrier explains his run in with Columbia law enforcement at the 1:30 mark.  Luckily, they had the wrong guy...just as they had the wrong guy when Clowney was handcuffed in Columbia last Thursday night.

 

Houston Nutt creates player-partner program to stress accountability

To stress accountability during the off-season, Houston Nutt implemented a player-partner program.

A large “circle of champions” sign hands in the Ole Miss indoor practice facility.

From the inside moving out, the targets illustrates “Everyone Starts Here” (bullseye), Circle of Untrustables, and the “Circle of the Uncommitted.”

Nutt explained to The Clarion Ledger, “So when we got back we said that everybody’s going to pick a partner. And if your partner doesn’t go to class, you both run. One of you oversleeps? Both of you overslept. And both of you have got to pay a penalty. And so you get so many penalties and you start, you get outside — you don’t want to be outside the blue. What I’m excited about, with 121 right now, I think we’ve got four names up there.”

“It’s real simple. You do what’s right. You don’t? There’s a penalty, and it’s costly. Every morning at 5:30, and you’re welcome to come, at 5:30 every Friday, all penalties will be — you have to pay your penalty.”  See a photo of the sign, right here.

Ole Miss finished their second day of practice on Tuesday.  It was the second practice with new assistant coaches David Lee (offensive coordinator / quarterbacks) Keith Burns (corners), Gunter Brewer (wide receivers / passing game coordinator / associate head coach).

George O'Leary explains denial of scholarship release

If you hadn’t heard, 4-star quarterback DaMarcus Smith has asked UCF head coach George O’Leary for his scholarship release before ever arriving on campus.

Smith, who attended Seneca HS in Louisville, seems to think he made the wrong choice by not signing with the hometown Louisville Cardinals.

Today, George O’Leary denied Smith’s request.

O’Leary said, “To me, you spend a lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of hours recruiting a kid. I think the big thing is you sign a legal document and that’s what it is – a legal document."

"I’ve never in all my coaching given a release to an NLI and I’m not about to start. And he knew that. I told him that. Again, that’s why they have such a stiff penalty for people that don’t fulfill the NLI.”

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Niumatalolo drops 10 coaching cliches in 26 seconds

Navy began Spring practice yesterday in chilly temperatures in Annapolis.

Courtesy of the behind-the-scenes video, we heard Ken Niumatalolo tell the them, “As I think about our team for Spring, this a great opportunity for some of you to either change your stock or perception that a coach has for you.  You have 15 days.  This is where we set the tone for our 2011 season.”

In his 26-second post-practice comments, Niumatalolo was able to drop 10 coaching clichés.

He said, “We just completed day 1 of our spring ball.  We are trying to establish the culture of Navy football and the way we play. (1)  I thought it was a start…a good start (2). It’s only one step (3), we have a long ways to go. (4) I am excited about our young men. (5)  Coach Bras did a great job with our strength staff in getting our guys ready for Spring ball (6).  There was great energy (7) and great enthusiasm out here (8).  I liked we saw on day 1 (9), but we have 14 more to go (10).”

Translation...Navy is already working on Lincoln Riley's offensive scheme.

Yesterday marked the first day of practice for new wide receivers coach Mick Yokitis, who previously served as the head coach of the Naval Academy Prep School.  Danny O’Rourke moved from wide receivers to slot backs.  He replaced Joe DuPaix, who accepted the running backs / recruiting coordinator job at BYU.

Navy opens against Delaware before traveling to Western Kentucky and South Carolina.

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