Neuheisel talks about "The Pistol" offense

Rick Neuheisel talks about “The Pistol” offense.  The third-year UCLA head coach also spoke with reporters after practice today.

Says Neuheisel, "I hope it's a permanent fix. Is it a permanent offense? No. But I want to be in a permanent place in the top half of the conference in rushing offense. If we can do that, I know we can handle the rest of it. We'll get right back into the conference race and we'll get back to UCLA winning Rose Bowls again."

A couple of quotes from Neuheisel during media day:

Describing “The Pistol”: The easiest way for me to describe the pistol, and the Nevada coaches may cringe when I say this because it may not be anywhere close to what they envisioned, but I'd say it is a veer offense from the gun. Pistol is borrowed from the gun offense so the quarterback is in the shotgun. Normally in the shotgun, backs are offset, either to your right or to your left. In Oregon and Florida's offense, they almost always have a guy to the side and there's a lot of lateral movement. Veer offense is a ride to the side, if you will, where you are reading a guy as he's coming down hill and you are leaving an end of line defender unblocked so that you can get up to the next level with an offensive tackle or offensive guard or what have you. So our tailback in this new offense is directly behind the quarterback, maybe a half a yard to a yard deeper than he would be if we were under center. So we have the ability now to hold the defense. They can't just see lateral movement and predict which way this back is going. He could go either way. It has been hugely successful for Nevada. They had three 1,000-yard rushers last year, two tailbacks and a quarterback. And as our special teams coach, Frank Gansz likes to say, `that's proof.' That's validity. We believe that this can give us an answer. I know there's been a lot of question as to Kevin's (Prince) durability, how many times he can carry a ball. In watching the offense and having my own experiences going with a veer and a couple of veer schemes when I was coaching at Washington, the quarterback certainly does get tackled at times, but you can control how many times you want that to happen. In the plays that our quarterbacks got hurt, they were both passing plays where he was scrambling. So it is not as though you can completely take him away from harm's way."

On the risk/reward of the pistol offense: "Certainly there is a learning curve, and that's why we had to dive into it during spring ball and not spend any time doing anything else that we know how to do. And we are going to invest in it this fall. Does that mean it will be 100 percent of our game plan when we get to Kansas State, I don't think so. But we have to get to a level of efficiency at it that allows us to think that it's a prudent move. But, when you talk risk/reward, there was zero risk in making a change, because what we had done wasn't working. We couldn't sit and tell ourselves, like some person looking in a mirror and telling ourselves we're skinny, when we're not. You got to go get on a diet. You got to face the facts. And we had to face the facts that we needed to change who we were as a running football team and figure out another way to do it. Our depth isn't at a place that we can go out there and line-up and whip people doing things the old-fashioned way. You have to keep up with the trends in football and not be afraid to put your neck out there a little bit. I hope it is a permanent fix. Is it a permanent offense, no? But I want to be at a permanent place in the top half of this conference in rushing offense. Because if we could do that, I know we could handle the rest of it and we'll be right back in the conference race and we'll get back to UCLA winning Rose Bowls."


Les Miles, Chavis, and Crowton talk in-depth

LSU head coach Les Miles and both coordinators met with the media on Tuesday to discuss the Tigers.  All three coaches went in-depth and offered a ton of insight.  It didn't seem at media day that any of the coaches were short for words.

You can read the entire transcript here, but we pulled some of the most interesting quotes:


Quoting Les Miles: “Certainly Jordan Jefferson is our starter but Jarrett Lee is much improved and gives us another really qualified quarterback. It is the first time in my last two years that we have started the season with a quarterback who has started a season. Both Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson have now started a season and come in basically to their second year playing, so that has certainly been excellent for us.”

"Defensively there is so much speed on that side of the ball it is really a lot of fun to watch them run. Patrick Peterson is a dominant player and we are having a difficult time completing balls on that side of the field."

“I think the rule change in the kickoff return game without having a wedge certainly has affected us early. We are having to change our kickoff returns to develop some schemes and to develop who is executing those positions, but I think it is a great rule change. I think our speed on defense and the speed in our freshmen class means that our special teams are going to be very fast and we will have great coverage units.”

"I don't think it's inconceivable that Jarrett Lee would get on the field in a game, in the first game or somewhere down the road. Right now it is not without possibility, but it is not something we are planning on. It would have to be greater execution on Lee's part and maybe if it is a more definitive advantage. I like how he is competing, so at some point in time where it is an advantage to have him in the game we could see that."

"He has really brought a lot of passion and he certainly understands the advantages of his players. He gets the most out of his players, and he is requiring them to be a thinking receiver as well as physical and blocking and catching. His ideas in terms of game plan certainly are fruitful. We are going to use them regularly and routinely, and I think you will find that our receivers will play better because of it."


Quoting defensive coordinator / linebackers coach John Chavis: “My wife and I had a discussion a couple of days ago, and she flew back to Knoxville (Tennessee) on Monday to spend some time with the boys and she said, 'You know what? This is really a neat situation because during two-a-days or during fall camps, you are the most griping and ornery individual I've ever been around.' I didn't know that. I thought I was a nice guy. It makes it good for her to get away. She said, 'I've got an opportunity to get away. You better go do your job and do it well. We'll be back before the first game.' You learn a little bit more about yourself every year that you're in this business.”

"We certainly have talent. We have a lot of work to do, but I like our position right now. I like the conditioning of our team. I like the mentality. A lot of what you get done has to do with attitude, and that's one of the things I learned when I got here - attitude was not lacking here at LSU and in this program. They understand how to train. They understand to work hard. They understand how to prepare, so that's an exciting situation to be in.


Quoting offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Gary Crowton: "It seems like every year we've had a couple new coaches, but I like the staff and I like the chemistry of the room. We have experience in there. Steve Ensminger is an experienced coach. He's been around and we've been in similar places. We've both been at Louisiana Tech. When I was the head coach there he was at Texas A&M and we used to play them every year, so I've been very familiar with him. He's very familiar with Louisiana and the recruiting area. I like what he brings to the room from that standpoint. He's a good guy, fun guy, good to work with, very knowledgeable and voices his opinions. He works well with rest of the staff and gets good conversations started. Frank Wilson is local, being from New Orleans, he's been around this league and he's got some experience on some of the other programs. He knows a lot of the coordinators and some of the players around the league from being at Tennessee and Ole Miss. I think those things right there adds to the room and they're (Ensminger and Wilson) are good people to be around.  Both have one focus on football and that is to win, and so that is good along with coach Gonzales who I've already talked about. I like that chemistry. The chemistry is always important for the team and the coaching staff, and right now I feel real good chemistry. It makes me real excited for the season." 

Kiffin isn't messing around

Lane Kiffin said he won’t put the Trojans through any 2-a-days. 

“It is what it is. We can’t do it.  It wouldn't be smart to do it another way,” said Kiffin, alluding to his short numbers.

"I don't think toughness is an issue with this team right now.  I think we established that in the spring.  We just have to continue to build on that and be really smart at it.”

During today’s post-practice talk, Kiffin noted that 2 freshman players that were late for team activities, ran for 2 straight hours.  Said Kiffin, “We wanted to set the tempo on what that means, so they ran for 2 straight hours.”

i.e. Lane isn’t messing around.


Coaches Quick Hits

A few interesting quotes from around the country:


Boise State players react: Since Boise State head coach Chris Petersen banned twitter, his players have reacted by placing a whiteboard in the locker room.  Players can write anything on the whiteboard, but it has to be under 140 characters (just like twitter). 


Quoting Rich Rodriguez: “We have quite a few guys in very good shape, a handful who are in OK shape and a small handful not ready to play Division I football,”

“Our young guys look like they’ve grown some, gained weight and strength, and some have shaven now for the first time.”


Quoting Kevin Sumlin: (on the first day in full-pads) “Usually the same thing happens every year…Some guys that look good in shorts disappear when we start puting pads on and we’ll never see those guys again, probably until next year.” 

“There are some other guys out here that have surfaced that will run around and hit people and those guys will continue to get better.  That’s who we’ll play with.”


Quoting Akron head coach Rob Ianello: ''This is the first time in 23 years that I don't have my own position to coach. 'I am coaching the whole team. I will get a young man from Columbus, from Akron and from Staten Island. How do I get them to come together as a team? It's a challenge and it's fun.''


Quoting Dabo Swinney: "It was a better scrimmage than I expected for the first scrimmage. We had a lot of new guys in action in Death Valley for the first time and we did a lot of mix and matching during the scrimmage. We need to perform better in the red-zone on both sides of the ball."


Quoting Mark Dantonio: "Top to bottom, this is probably as talented a team as we've had" in his time as MSU's head coach.”

Jimbo working the Noles today

Florida State will practice again this afternoon.

After the morning session, Jimbo Fisher said, “Guys are ‘pulling the pin,’ learning to compete.” 

"Now is the time we've got to grind and keep pushing them because they're getting tired. We're through six practices, going into seven, and that's when it's easy to take the easy way out."

"I do (2-a-days) because I think it's a great mental conditioning deal and it's a great challenge for guys to push themselves.  Until you hit the limit you don't know what you're capable of and that's what we're trying to do."

“We’re an athletic football team in my opinion.  We can win that yardage battle (special teams) every game.”

You can watch Jimbo's interview here.

The Seminoles will practice again later this afternoon in shells.

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