Building a winner
In December 2008 Tim Beckman was hired to be the new head coach at Toledo. Toledo was 3-9 in 2008.
In 2009 under Beckman the Rockets went 5-7. In 2010, they went 8-5 and returned to a bowl game for the first time since 2005. This offseason (and last), Coach Beckman's recruiting class was rated the best in the MAC and they have 17 returing starters.
This year, they opened with a big 58-22 win over New Hampshire and then went into Ohio Stadium and came within a completion of beating Ohio State.
This year, the Rockets will play 8 games on TV (4 of them within the ESPN family of channels), including this Friday night when Boise State comes to town. The exposure for the program is great; but the schedule is brutal. Two Tuesday night games, a Thursday night game and three Friday night games.
How about this run...at Ohio State, Boise State at home, at Syracuse and then at Temple. Tough, to say the least. No small task; but if the Rockets can win 2 of 3 (Boise, Syracuse and Temple), this could be a year to remember in Toledo.
Quick note> 6 of the 9 assistants on Beckman's staff finished college in 2000 or later. Young staff, doing well.
Video of Beckman talking about this week's game versus Boise State.
Kevin Steele is "extremely irritated"
After two games (two wins), Clemson's defense is averaging allowing 411 yards per game and nearly 220 yards per game rushing (107th in the nation).
Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is extremely irritated with his squad's inability to tackle (he says his guys missed 16 tackles, allowing an additional 145 yards, Saturday against Wofford). Steele notes that it's not everyone; but just a "handful of players who have eight, nine or ten" missed tackles.
He says the problem is correctable and that there will be changes. Steele was asked if he'd go back to "Junction Boys" style practice (players standing nearby apparently began to quiver). "If we returned to the Junction Boys, which we could've done before now, it wouldn't be an issue. I'd probably be in jail, because they don't let you coach like that no more."
More from Steele, "Something's going to change. When you're extremely irritated about something, it's better to keep your mouth shut. I'm old enough to know and old-school enough to know that if we do it a certain way, and it doesn't work, I know the old way works.....We'll get it fixed....repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition..Encouraging guys through work that we're going to get this thing done. We're going to step on their toes and wrap up. We're going to do that."
"It frustrates you every single day in practice; but you don't go live in practice. People would be shocked. People don't tackle in practice any more. Don't go to the ground."
Sounds like Steele's defense better come out firing on Saturday when they host Auburn (noon on ABC).
Here's video of Steele after the Wofford game...extremely irritated.
No TV Wednesday
Unless you consider soccer to be football (in which case it you probably are on the wrong website), there is no live football on TV tonight.
Don't get dejected yet though, tomorrow night the whole country gets to watch Les coach in their SEC opener at Mississippi State. Last night on his radio show, Coach Miles said he doesn't know how the grass at Scott Field tastes and hinted that he might just have to try it.
Coach, please do.
Mario Cristobal at the mic
FIU is 2-0 and has UCF, also 2-0, coming to Miami this weekend for the first ever matchup between these programs.
2010 Sun Belt champs versus 2010 CUSA champs. Tough opponent for FIU; but we're 100% confident that Coach Cristobal is not afraid. The man believes in his team and his team has bought in.
Watch Coach Cristobal handle this press conference, he's prepared. No fluff in these answers. He knows the opponent inside and out. Should be a great game.
Field goal block tips
In Saturday's game versus Utah, USC was clinging to a 17-14 lead with seconds remaining. Utah was in position for a 41 yard game tying field goal attempt.
USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil blocks the kick, USC wins.
Take a minute (and five seconds) and watch Kiffin explain the block. A couple of good coaching points in here. Credit special teams coordinator John Baxter who Kiffin calls the best in the business.
Paul Johnson: I remember Kansas in the victory formation
Georgia Tech is 2-0 and has Kansas coming to town this Saturday. You might recall Kansas beat Georgia Tech 28-25 in Lawrence.
In his weekly presser today, Paul Johnson was asked what the most vivid impression he has from that Kansas game last year...
"The end of the game, them taking a knee in victory formation. I remember that."
There was then a 13 second pause before the next question. Silent room. Awkward.
We think Johnson will have his team motivated for this game.
Later, a different reporter asked Coach Johnson if he ever get's tired of answering the question "Can we win with just a passing game?".
Johnson's response was great...
No, not really...it's what you're not doing that people want to talk about...I remember talking to June [Jones] when he was at Hawaii...after a couple of years there, people complained that they didn't run the ball...I really don't think it matters. The bottom line is do you have more points than the other team at the end of the game. And you don't get any more for throwing than you do for running...Actually if you're trying to win the game, which is better a one play 77 yard drive or a 19 play 98 yard drive that eats 8 minutes? I bet you the guys on defense would vote for the second.
Air Force HC Troy Calhoun calls out a writer
The Mountain West held their weekly coaches conference call today. Half an hour in, not much of note. Then, it's was Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun's turn. Reminder, Air Force is 1-1 after losing this past Saturday to TCU.
"And the next question comes from The Mountain West senior writer Mick McGrane..." (editor's note...did anyone realize the conference had a senior writer?)
Here's the exchange.
McGrane: Troy, I was just curious, it seems like everyone is screaming that the sky is falling after Air Force loses one game. How is your kids resolve right now?
Calhoun: Who did you say did?
McGrane: I was just curious as to what your kids resolve is now. It just seems like everybody is screaming that the sky is falling because Air Force lost a game.
Calhoun: Who was that? Who specifically said that?
McGrane: No, it just seemed to be general sentiment. I was just wondering how your kids were holding up.
Calhoun: Is there one or two people that said that? Just throw me a name, one or two of people that have said that.
McGrane: I don't have any names.
Calhoun: OK, shoot our kids like to play football.
McGrane: Thank you Troy.
Calhoun: You bet Mick.
As you might expect, McGrane's tone was of rejection at the end; whereas Calhoun's was of confidence. You can listen to the whole exchange if you want at this link (jump to the 30:20 mark).
Spurrier: Navy will play anyone tough...well not Alabama
Head ball coach is always good for a quote. South Carolina hosts Navy this weekend (6PM on ESPN2).
It's always tough to play against Navy's option offense and Spurrier spoke about that today. Some quotes from Spurrier:
Navy might be as good an independent team as their is in the nation.
We're gonna have our hands full slowing these guys down.
Our defensive coaches have been watching how other teams play against the option...
Navy takes care of the ball, gets the most out of their players, very well coached.
Navy will play anybody tough...maybe not Alabama. Alabama seems to know how to stuff people. But these option teams seem to play us well.