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Dabo offers first 'state of the union' address of 2011 season

Dabo Swinney offered his first 'state of the union' address for the 2011 season today during ACC Media Days in Pinehurst, NC.

Yes, the season has yet to being, but some jackleg had the nerve to ask him about his job security.

We like to stay away from topics like that, but Dabo did have some other interesting things to talk about.

Swinney said, “We’ve had two years of laying a foundation. I can’t be held accountable for 20 years. I need to be held accountable for the opportunities we had here.”

“We’re proud of (the division title) and felt like we did take a good step there, took a step back last year. We’re recruiting at a high level and that’s where it starts. I’ve put together an incredible staff, and we’ve got great chemistry. They’ve committed resources, facilities, we’ve got great support from the administration and president. All those things are what it takes. I don’t think it’s always been that way at Clemson.”

Tommy West and Tommy Bowden are somewhere saying, “A little late for me.”

Swinney added, “The way we are right now, we just need to stay the course. Back away from the ledge. Let the coaches do their job. I think we’re on the verge of greatness at Clemson, in the near future.”

In the off-season, Chad Morris joined the staff as offensive coordinator, Robbie Caldwell took over the offensive line, and Marion Hobby returned to Clemson to make sure the Tigers continue to produce passing rushing studs like Gaines Adams, Ricky Sapp, and Da’quan Bowers.

“I feel like we addressed our issues. I was able to make a transition with my staff for the first time since I had the job. I’ve hired everyone on the staff,” said Swinney.

“It’s exciting for me. I was dealt an unusual hand as I got this job. I’ve been blending it for a couple years, so it was good; we had some adversity but good things come from that.”

Clemson opens with four straight home games against Troy, Wofford, Auburn, and Florida State.

Here’s more from Dabo:


UNC chancellor: It begun to chip away at this university's reputation

University of North Carolina Chancellor Holden Thorp has dismissed Butch Davis as head coach.

Thorp said in a press release, “To restore confidence in the University of North Carolina and our football program, it's time to make a change. What started as a purely athletic issue has begun to chip away at this University's reputation. I have been deliberate in my approach to understanding this situation fully, and I have worked to be fair to everyone involved. However, I have lost confidence in our ability to come through this without harming the way people think of this institution. Our academic integrity is paramount and we must work diligently to protect it. The only way to move forward and put this behind us is to make a change."

Thorp said the decision was not related to any change in the NCAA investigation, but that it was the result of the cumulative damage to the University's reputation over the past year.

"Athletics and football are an important part of this University, and a successful football program is essential to the overall health of our athletic program. That's why we have to put this behind us and move forward."

August camp begins in just eight days for the Tar Heels.

FootballScoop has learned that an interim head coach will be named tomorrow.  Our sources tell us the candidates are Everett Withers, John Shoop, Sam Pittman, and Ken Browning.

The consensus is that it will be Withers if the Tar Heels are hoping to potentially keep it together after next December.  It will likely go to Browning if UNC wants to go Robbie Caldwell style.

Davis finished 28-23 in four years as head coach, 15-17 in ACC games.


Randy Edsall focused on building a program, instilling accountability

Maryland begins practice on August 9th under new head coach Randy Edsall.  After 29 practices, the Terps will host Miami (FL) during a Monday night nationally televised primetime game.

Because the season-opener is a conference game, Edsall said the program needs to have a sense of urgency.  “It’s not like we’re opening against a D1-AA team,” said Edsall.

The immediate goal, however, is to build a foundation for a program, not just a team.  “I really believe you have to come in and establish that foundation,” admitted Edsall.

“I’m a coach, teacher, parent, and mentor.  What I’m doing is preparing these guys for life.  After they leave in four or five years, they need to go out and produce to earn a living and probably support a family.  All we are trying to do is get them understand there is a right way and wrong way to go about your life.  It’s giving them responsibility, but then holding them accountable.”

“I basically have two rules for them.  Be on time and do what’s right.”

Looking at his team, Edsall said, “We have a nucleus of young men that gives us a chance to be a really good football team this year.”

The downside is the Terps will only get 17.5 hours with the players each week instead of the usual 20 hours.  The Terps will also be without two grad assistants during August camp.

On the bright side, Edsall believes quarterback Danny O’Brien is a special player.  He added, “Then to me, he is very grounded, humble, and realizing he needs to work every day at his craft.  He’s fun to be around.  He can joke with you.  He knows when to joke, knows when to be serious. He's just got this infectious personality and he's a great leader.”

The most important thing, according to Edsall, is for this these guys to play as eleven.  


Art Briles offers line of the day about NCAA taunting rule

It’s early, but the line of the day goes to Baylor head coach Art Briles, who is taking part in Big Twelve Media Days. 

Briles was asked his opinion on the new NCAA taunting rule, which everyone knows will be an utter failure.

This season, if a player taunts an opponent on his way to a touchdown, the play will be nullified.  In other words, there's no room for salutes, flips, and high stepping.  In short, no trying to pay homage to Deion.

So asked for his thoughts, Briles responded, "When Edwin Moses ran the hurdles, he wasn't low-stepping at the finish line."

FYI: The new rule will assess a penalty from the spot of the foul.

Our prediction: Kirk Herbstreit will lose it on on College Game Day a week after some officiating crew blows a ridiculously subjective call that costs a team a ball game.  Herbstreits' rant will become a YouTube sensation.  We're talking, Herbstreit will be seriously agitated and rip the NCAA. By the post-season, the NCAA will get rid of the penalty. 



Cutcliffe hoping Andrew Luck continues to grow his beard

David Cutcliffe is heading into his fourth year as the Duke head coach and encouraged about the future, but Cutcliffe is beginning to get tired of, “We’re close.”

Fortunately, the Duke roster has evolved from just 91 players (2008) to a current total of 112, which will finally allow Cutcliffe to practice with way he was accustomed to practicing at Ole Miss or Tennessee.

Cutcliffe told 620 The Zone this morning, “Here’s the thing I know.  And this is the part that encourages me the most.  We’re much better physically and our guys, this is the truth, are working as hard as they can possibly work to prepare.  They have learned how to compete in the off-season. I can’t ask for anything more.”

“People get tired of people saying they’re close.  Saying your close is saying you’re just not getting it done.  We’re at a point where simply need to do or we don’t.  If we don’t, we’ll shut our mouths and come back and go to work.”

This season, Jim Knowles takes over the defensive coordinator role.  Knowles coached with Cutcliffe at Ole Miss in 2003 when the Rebels tied for the SEC Western Division title with LSU, then defeated Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.

“Defensively, we’re still too young, but we’re not going to use that as an excuse.  We can run and if you can run, then you have a chance.  We’re not very big. What we do have at defense is competition at every position.  Jim Knowles will make a significant difference in his leadership of our defense.”

Cutliffe also singled out co-offensive coordinator / offensive line coach Matt Luke for his day-to-day approach.  Cutcliffe said, “(Matt) is one of the most consistently upbeat people.  If you’re in a bad mood, just get in the car and go ride an hour with Matt.  You’re gonna laugh and have a good time.”

Duke opens the season by hosting Richmond.  A week later, Stanford comes to town.  Cutcliffe joked, “I hope he (Andrew Luck) keeps his beard and it grows over his eyes, so he can’t see.”

The Heisman Trophy isn't the only award Luck is in contention for this season. Reportedly, the Stanford signal caller is in the running for the Geico Award...even a caveman can do it.


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.