Richt: Drills are great but...
After a season filled with disappointing punt and kick return coverage, Mark Richt promises more live kick scenarios in practice this fall after they spent much of the off season taking an in depth look at their coverage schemes.
"My guess is we'll have more live kicking reps in the fall than we've had in a while. Some of that is because we're going to be breaking in a new punter and a new kicker. They need to be under pressure as much as possible and it's hard to create that pressure unless you're doing some live situations."
Richt explains that he likes all the drill work they've been accustomed to in the past, but there's no replicating a full speed drill against the best available players.
"We also just need to see for our own eyes can a guy make a tackle out in the open. Drills are great, but when it gets down to it, you have to have that sensation of being able to corral a guy out there when you're covering a punt or covering a kick. You need to have your punts rushed full speed to make sure there's no problems."
"We're going to do a lot more good-on-good because you need to find out if you've got an issue in camp rather than the first or second game of the year. So we'll do a lot more live kicking situations than we have, maybe since I've been here."
JUCO Video: Live Forever
East Mississippi Community College wrapped up an impressive 12-0 season in 2011, finishing the season as National Champs.
Once they escaped with wins in their first three games (they won those first three by a combined 10 points), they put up at least 41 points in each of their remaining 9 games. The defense was also able to hold half of their opponents to under 17 points throughout the course of the year.
The video below highlights the excitement of the journey of head coach Buddy Stephens and the team on the way to the schools first ever National Title.
Very well done video here.
Mic'd up at Illinois
Billy Gonzales joined the Fighting Illini in January, bringing with him some great experience from LSU, Florida, and Utah.
In the clip below from their spring practices, Gonzales runs his receivers through individual drills, gets them focused up during stretches, and also serves as a defender during a screen drill. Good stuff.
Leach weighs in on the worst part of coaching
The Omaha World Herald ran an interesting interview with Mike Leach over the weekend where the Coug's head coach opened up about the possibility of a college football playoff, his respect for Tom Osborne and his least favorite part of coaching.
Leach says the worst thing about coaching is the distractions that come up throughout the year. "The worst thing is dealing with distractions. You've got a plan to do something, then all of a sudden there's a distraction."
According to Leach, one of the the biggest challenges of being a head coach is finding balance managing everything surrounding your program, something he felt Tom Osborne excelled at.
"Tom Osborne never had highs and lows. He withstood the test of time. One of the biggest challenges of being a head coach is to be a good balancer, having the ability to balance all the things inside and outside the program. To me, it seems that Tom Osborne is one of the best balancers that's ever been involved in the game."
Leach also weighed in on the recent talk of a college football playoff.
"I think they need to have at least an eight-team playoff for it to do any good. Eight, I think, is the minimum you can get by with. Sixteen would be better. But I'd rather see 64. You'd cut the regular season down to 10 games, then make sure everybody plays 12 games if they don't get in the playoff. The teams that make the championship game would play 16, just like they do in Division I-AA."
20 teams make the playoffs in FCS, 24 in D-II and D-III...
Inside look at a successful California JUCO
As far as JUCO programs go, Cerritos College has a long and rich tradition of success on the field and preparing players to transfer to four year schools. The past two seasons have produced back to back conference championships and bowl wins, and head coach Frank Mazzotta has served as head coach for over 34 years.
Mazzotta and the staff visited the staff at Michigan State last week to swap some ideas, and to check up on a former player of theirs that is now the starting offensive tackle for the Spartans. Dantonio and the staff in East Lansing complimented the Cerritos staff on how prepared the young man was from the moment he arrived on campus.
The clip below gives a great inside look at the program at Cerritos where you hear from players on exactly how the staff prepares them for life after they walk away from campus in Norwalk, California.
Simulating game day intensity in the weight room
With spring practices over, the staff at Cincinnati has turned their focus to winning in the weight room, and simulating a game day like intensity while training throughout the rest of the summer.
Judging from the clip below, the entire staff has clearly done a great job training the players on the importance of mental toughness and intensity in everything that they do.
As one player says in the clip below, "It's not so much the coaches telling us 'Hey you gotta up the intensity', it's ingrained in us now. The coaches have been here for three years. It's expected, it's a standard and everyone is starting to get that."
Richt on his transfer policy: "Life is too short"
There has been a lot of chatter this off season about players in all sports requesting a transfer and coaches limiting the schools that the player can attend.
Mark Richt is not one of those coaches.
“First of all, I think life is too short. I want every young man to have a successful time in his four or five year window to be able to go to college. So I don’t want to impede a guy from realizing his goals and his dreams, wherever it is."
“I want our guys to stay, and sometimes when they do choose to leave, I still like the kid and I still want the kid to have success. If he thinks he will have success at a school you compete against, then so be it.” he added.
Richt further explained the bottom line in his eyes. "When we recruit a guy, we want him to be at Georgia. We want him to have success. We want him to enjoy his experience. If, for whatever reason, it doesn’t work out, wherever the guy goes, I want him to have the same ability to have the same success he was hoping to have when he came to Georgia. So I don’t want to keep a guy from doing that.”
New head coach: Why should I tell you what my offense looks like?
Since Paul Chryst took over at Pitt back in late December, him and his staff have went about their mission focusing on outworking their opponents and preparing their players better than any other staff in the country.
"It's a players' game, always has been and always will be. We've gotta make sure they're confident and prepared to go play.''
One of the most popular questions he's fielded in press conferences is about his smash mouth offensive philosophy, to which he told the Patriot-News, "You don't announce who you are and what you are, I truly believe that. It's what we put on the field and what we do on the team that matters. Other people, they can say what they want. We gotta worry about just doing it the right way.'' Chryst explained.
Chryst has done more than his fair share of traveling as a coach, spending time in West Virginia, Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, Oregon and two stints up in Canada. One thing that he admits he's still getting used to is the food of Pittsburgh.
"You know, I've never been to a city where they put fries on everything.'' he laughed.