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Charlie Strong: More than anything, what pissed me off was grades

A year ago, a lot was made of Charlie Strong’s first team meeting.  Strong didn’t exactly go Ed Orgeron style, but he admittedly absolutely ripped the Louisville players.

Reflecting back, Strong told ESPN this week, "More than anything, what pissed me off was grades. That's why I said I want a team meeting right away, because of their grades.”

“You show me a good football team, and I'll show you good grades. You show me a bad football team, and I'll show you bad grades. [Bad grades show you] they're not committed, they don't care, they're just going through the motions. A team with good grades has players who want to graduate, who want good things to happen."

Strong led Louisville to a 7-6 record in his first year as head coach.  As Spring practice approaches, he will undoubtedly reiterate his core of toughness and stopping the run.

He added, "We have a lot of skill guys coming back. But what you don't ever want to do is let that be the core of your team. The toughness of your team is built up front, with the offensive and defensive lines.”

This off-season, Louisville had just one change to the coaching staff.  Former Nebraska offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson replaced quarterbacks coach Mike Groh, who accepted the wide receivers job at Alabama.

Louisville opens against Murray State.  The Cardinals play FIU, at Kentucky, Marshall, and at North Carolina before Big East play begins.

Holgorsen: I don't care what it looked like last year

West Virginia does not start Spring practice until March 28th, so the Mountaineers have a three more weeks of watching cutups of bona fide ballers Justin Blackmon and Case Keenum.

Offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen is working with a new offensive staff that includes Robert Gillespie (running backs), Shannon Dawson (inside receivers), Lonnie Galloway (outside receivers), and Bill Bedenbaugh (offensive line).

Holgorsen told The Daily Anthenaeum, “This offense isn't hard to learn, it's not hard to grasp, and it's not hard to retain. But, that doesn't make you good. What makes you good is players meshing together."

So what about last season?

Holgorsen explained, "I didn't watch any film on what West Virginia did last year, because that's not my offense. I don't care what it looked like last year."

West Virginia opens with 5 consecutive non-conference games next season.  The Mountaineers play Marshall, Norfolk State, at Maryland, LSU, and Bowling Green.

Red Bull will reportedly be available on the WVU sideline for the new offensive coordinator.  

Greg Mattison reacts to watching Michigan's defense of 2010

At first, Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said he wouldn’t watch the film of the 2010 Wolverines’ defense.

Mattison told ESPN, "I made a concerted effort when I came in here to say, 'I'm not going to watch it.’ What I wanted to do is give these players the benefit of the doubt and not to even talk about what's happened in the past. Those were good coaches here. I'm never going to second-guess guys who were here before."

Now, Mattison admits he has watched the film and feels better having done so.

"It helped me because in a lot of ways, I felt even stronger about what our mission is here," explained Mattison.

"I felt like, ‘Listen, we can get these guys to get back to that.’ I felt good about it. It probably drove me more the next day in running to make these guys step up to that level.  Because they have it.  It’s our job to get it out of them.”

Mattison, who served as the Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator last season, is set to earn $750,000 per year as the Michigan defensive coordinator.

Our sources tell us that Mattison is actually feeling better after realizing his first 5 games next season are all at home and against Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, San Diego State, and Minnesota.

Had Mattison stayed with the Ravens, he could have started with the New York Jets, Peyton Manning, Pittsburgh Steelers, Harbaugh’s new offense with the 49ers, and Josh McDaniel’s new offense with the Rams.

Dan Disch out to change mindset of Southern Miss defense

Southern Miss defensive coordinator Dan Disch is eager to start rebuilding the Golden Eagles’ defense.

Disch told the Sun Herald, “To have a great defense, you need a couple of things. First, a great defense has great players. I know we have good players here now. Secondly, a great defense is an attitude -- plain and simple. Swagger comes from hard work, not talk. I can assure the fans that we’re going to work hard to be successful.’’

In 2010, Southern Miss allowed 29 points per game (81st nationally).  Five opponents scored at least 40 points including South Carolina, Houston, East Carolina, UAB, and Tulsa.  Larry Fedora’s team went 1-4 in those games, but finished 8-5 overall.

The people in Hattiesburg would like to get back to the old days when the Southern Miss defense was the consistently tough defense.

“We (players) have already started talking about putting a product on the field that will make people proud,” explained Disch. “With the spread, they have turned the game into a marathon. Our goal is to bring a physical defense back.’’

Southern Miss opens with LA Tech.  The remaining non-conference schedule includes Southeastern Louisiana, at Virginia, and at Navy.

Quick Hits: Spurrier, Golden, Stoops

Steve Spurrier thinks the Big Ten is at a disadvantage for not allowing oversigning: "I think that really hurts them a lot. They end up giving scholarships to a lot of walk-ons."


Here’s Bobby Petrino’s recruiting plan, according to the Wall Street Journal: He signs 19 players he knows are "academically gonna make it without being a load on our academic support staff," six guys who may or may not qualify, and three to four players who have "absolutely no chance" of qualifying.


An unnamed NFL coach told ESPN’s Bruce Feldman that UNC should have played for the BCS National Championship: "They should've been playing for the national title with the talent they had. Their defensive personnel was [expletive] sick. They looked more like an SEC team than any SEC team last year because they had freak D-linemen inside and out, linebackers who can outrun running backs and playmakers in the secondary. No one had talent like that. Not even close. If anyone could've shut down Auburn this year, this would've been the bunch that could've done it."


Miami (FL) head coach Al Golden talks about his concerns heading into Spring practice: “Secondary. There’s no secret we lost three really good corners. That doesn’t leave us bereft of talent, it leaves us lacking experience. Our linebacker depth is not where it should be now, so we’ll work on that as well. And boy, would I like to see something really explosive coming out of that wide receivers group this spring.’’


Bob Stoops not excited about playing Florida State again: "No. Because of all the improvement they've made. It's no fun playing your brother. In the end, it's not what you want. I said that going into the game a year ago, I didn't like it and I knew I didn't like it and after the game I was sure of it. But they are doing a great job so I am proud of him for that and I know they are going to continue to make improvements."

Pelini hires Stoops to speak at Nebraska coaching clinic

Just months after defeating Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship game, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops will serve as the keynote speaker on April 1st at the University of Nebraska coaching clinic.

Bo Pelini says, "It means a lot that Bob Stoops has agreed to take part in our clinic. His track record speaks for itself. He's one of the best in the game, not only among current coaches, but when you look at the history of college football.”

“This is a great opportunity for coaches throughout the area to get insight from Coach Stoops, as well as our coaching staff and a number of successful high school coaches. It should be a great weekend of learning and sharing ideas."

Both Stoops and Pelini attended Cardinal Mooney HS (Ohio) and the two coaches have remained friends ever since.

Urban Meyer will speak at the Notre Dame coaching clinic.  Last week, Bobby Petrino spoke at the USC coaching clinic.

Gene Stallings will speak at the Clemson clinic.  Mike Leach will speak at the Iowa State clinic.  

Miami (FL) coaches not interested in seeing 67 dropped passes

Despite having a ridiculously talented group of receivers, Miami (FL) completed just 54% of passing attempts in 2010.

According to the Miami Herald, former offensive coordinator Mark Whipple says the Hurricanes dropped an astounding 67 passes in 2010, mostly coming from receivers and tight ends.

The Hurricanes’ new wide receivers coach George McDonald told the Miami Herald, “They look like NFL receivers – long, rangy guys. But as a group, they’ve been underachieving in terms of where their talent is. You can’t catch a touchdown and then drop one.”

McDonald, who served as the wide receivers coach for the Cleveland Browns last season, will have a number of highly recruiting wide receivers to coach.  LaRon Byrd (Hahnville HS, LA) , Travis Benjamin (Glades Central HS, FL), the Miami Northwestern HS duo of Aldarius Johnson and Tommy Streeter will likely make-up the core of wide outs.

Shortly after arriving in Coral Gables, McDonald said, “Wow. Capital W…o..w. They look the part.  Now, looking the part and playing the part are two different things.”

“I try to train your eyes.  We want to frame the ball.  That’s one thing we are going to pride ourselves on…being fundamentally sound.”

Joining Al Golden's coaching staff on the offensive side includes Jedd Fisch (offensive coordinator / quarterbacks), Terry Richardson (running backs / recruiting coordinator), Brennan Carroll (tight ends / national recruiting coordinator), Art Kehoe (offensive line), and George McDonald (wide receivers).  

None of the offensive assistants have ever coached together.  

Miami (FL) opens at Maryland on a Monday night at 8 pm EST.  The Hurricanes will then return home for games against Ohio State and Kansas State.

Manny Diaz: There's a buzz around the place and no status quo feeling

You could totally sense the excitement of new Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz as he talked with 1300 am The Zone earlier today.

The Longhorns begin Spring practice today with five new assistant coaches.  On the defensive side, Diaz and former Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis are the new faces.

Diaz said, “There is an exciting dynamic to that. There is sort of a buzz around the place. It really feels like, and I have been on brand new staffs with a first year head coach, it really has the same feeling here.  There’s not that status quo feeling.  It’s a little bit ‘Hey, how do we practice here?  Where’s the practice field?’ And everybody is out of their comfort zone again.  I think it’s good.”

What about the depth chart?

Diaz explained, “As long as you are honest and tell them the truth, that’s what the players want.  All we do is go off the film.  We don’t talk about who we like the best.  All we go by is production.  It doesn’t matter if they are coming off a successful season or not so successful season.  It’s still always about what you do next.”

Diaz said players need to know how things work in the NFL.  He says he has explained to the players, “You’re going to have to fire a guy, they already have a guy.  You’re going to have to put a guy on the street to try and take his job.  Anybody who doesn’t feel like waking up every morning and competing, in reality is not what we are looking for anyway.”

“My job is to make them all go the same speed.  I don’t want guys out there making decisions.  I’m not concerned so much about the scheme. I know they’ll get the scheme.  We don’t play today.  I’m more worried about great effort, great attitude, and getting fundamentally better.  I know we’ll have the right balance.”