LSU assistant Frank Wilson making a big difference
When running backs coach Larry Porter accepted the head coaching job at Memphis during the off-season, Les Miles knew immediately that he needed to lure Tennessee assistant coach Frank Wilson to Baton Rouge.
For five consecutive years, Miles watched Wilson invade the state of Louisiana to sign some of Louisiana's best high school talent. He did it while coaching at Ole Miss for Ed Orgerson, at Southern Miss for Larry Fedora, and at Tennessee for Lane Kiffin.
If you can’t beat him, hire him, thought Miles. Despite a lucrative counter-offer from then Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin, Wilson decided the offer to return to his home state and to recruit his home town of New Orleans, was an opportunity he could not pass on.
Now serving as the LSU running backs coach / recruiting coordinator, Wilson, told the Times-Picayune, "Being able to identify what motivates, makes that prospect click or go is important. To key in on it and have a genuine relationshis with that student-athletic, that type of chemistry. It varies in each kid.”
"Some of it is football and how they fit in the scheme. Others, (it’s) being close to home. For another, it may be relationships with their family or position coach. Whatever it is, you identify and recruit that kid accordingly."
"You've got to have social skills, be able to relate and adapt in different home settings, different environments and socioeconomic situations. My upbringing is very diverse, academically and socially."
LSU opens with UNC on Saturday night in the Georgia Dome. Kick-off is set for 8 pm EST on ABC.
Bronco Mendenhall defends 2-quarterback plan
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall has decided to go with a 2-quarterback system to begin the season.
Riley Nelson and true freshman Jake Heaps will rotate from under center when BYU hosts Washington in the season-opener.
Mendenhall says, "There will be those who will want a new quarterback the minute the first incomplete pass is thrown, as I very well know will happen. There might even be boos on occasion. But what I've told Riley and Jake and our coaching staff is, they will not deter us from our plan. We'll do what's best for these kids, our program and our future."
"They're both excellent leaders and they both bring different styles of play. Ultimately, I think we're going to need both quarterbacks to help us reach our goals this year. I think it's the right thing for the young men involved, and it's the right thing for our team."
After hosting Washington, the Cougars will play at Air Force and at Florida State.
Update: BYU beat writer Drew Jay just tweeted, "Coach Bronco Mendenhall did slip-n-slide about six or seven times, did his post-practice interviews while soaking wet. Good sport."
Remember, you can follow all of the head coaches in the FootballScoop Twitter Center.
Sherman accepts blame for Aggies poor special teams play
One week before the 2010 season begins, Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman has accepted blame for the poor special teams play a year ago.
Former special teams coordinator Kirk Doll is no longer on the staff with Mike Sherman, who has divided up the special teams responsibilities amongst the staff.
Sherman said, "I take responsibility for what happened last year. This season, we're putting some of our starters and best athletes on special teams. We added a captain, and all of our coaches are now taking an active role in special teams so there's more focus there. Yeah, I expect to see different results."
Overall, Sherman added, "It's taken three years, but they are practicing at a high rate of speed and tempo.”
The Aggies enter the 2010 season with five new assistant coaches. Tim DeRuyter (defensive coordinator), Nick Toth (outside linebackers), Dat Nguyen (inside linebackers), Terrell Williams (defensive line), and Troy Walters (running backs) are all new to the staff.
The Aggies open with Stephen F. Austin on September 4th.
Saturday morning Coaches Quick Hits
Some interesting quotes from around the country:
Lane Kiffin talks about Matt Leinart’s demotion with the Arizona Cardinals: “I have no idea. We've got a lot of problems ourselves to figure out. Last time I spoke to him during training camp, things were going great for him. Sometimes a change of scenery is good to people.''
(on the Texas/USC series in 2017/18) “I hope I'm here, but I'm not really worried about the schedule seven years from now. We're worried about a game seven days from now."
Quoting Oregon State head coach Mike Riley: “The TCU deal came up in March. It’s in Cowboys Stadium. That’s one of the reasons for doing it. I like these games. We find out a lot. We grow from these games. Kind of a chance of a lifetime for the Beavers to go down there and play.”
“We’ve had more fans coming to practice, more media attention. We’re setting a record for our own ticket sales here. There’s a lot of excitement.”
Quoting North Texas offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Mike Canales: “Do I believe there is a guy here who is capable of leading us to a conference championship or a bowl game? Yes. I see the talent, the work ethic and the look in their eyes I saw from a lot of guys who led us to great victories in my career.”
Pitt DC Phil Bennett talks about Utah’s formations: "I told him heck, they have 58 formations. They do everything. I don't know how they practice that. They run power, a wildcat package, they run option - everything you might see in a year, we're seeing it in this first game."
Bronco Mendenhall will play 2 quarterbacks: "We plan on playing both Riley and Jake at quarterback and feel both will be effective leading our team. Each is a talented player with a different style, which will pose some difficulties for opposing defenses. Both players are committed to this decision and excited to lead our team."
Quoting Dan Mullen: “11 thousands student tickets sold out in 18 hours. There’s no a waiting list yet. In another year.”
“Not only to have the players and administation, but our student body and fan base have bought in. It’s really made Starkville the place to be in Mississippi on a Saturday evening.”
“Right now it’s a huge push for us. There is great high school football in Memphis. It’s a huge recruiting area for us with a lot of talented football players. It’s a natural recruiting area for us.”
“For a coaching staff there is no bigger game than the first game of the year.”
Quoting Memphis defensive line coach Mike Dubose: "When I was fired and first left Tuscaloosa, I was angry. I was mad at the world, mad at everybody but me. I was the only one I should have been mad at. In 2001 when I sat out, I didn't do anything. I tried to watch college football and couldn't. I tried to go to a couple high school games. I couldn't be a spectator."
Quoting San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke: “We’ve got our hands full with Nicholls State. I promise you that.”
Dooley glad to have defensive GA Peter Sirmon: "We're not talking about a guy that sits in the back of the room in meetings and takes notes. Peter brings a lot to the table because of his experience. He's played the game at the highest level. Having a guy like that here as a G.A. is a bonus."
The one thing Brian Kelly wants changed in college football
Although advertising is important, Brian Kelly would like to see the college game played at a quicker pace.
Kelly told Jeff Jeffers of NewsCenter 16, “Play ‘em quicker. You know, I understand the need for advertising and TV timeouts, but after awhile, it it’s 3, 3 ½ hours, that’s a long day. We want entertainment, we want fast-paced, we want it exciting, we need to get the game over in 2, 2 ½ hours. I think that’s what everybody wants to see. I think that we have just got to be really careful that we don’t over-indulge the game and make it longer than it needs to be.”
Kelly added, “I think everybody now sees that college football is THE sport when it comes to recognition, viewership, advertising and the reason is because it’s kids – it’s enthusiasm, it’s the band, it’s the cheerleaders, it’s the fall afternoons. Those are very special… the game and its pageantry is really the most important thing.”
Asked if he has time for a hobby, Kelly responded, “I think the important thing is to grab an hour or 30 minutes or 40 minutes just for yourself. So the hobby really is to learn how to decompress if you will from all the trappings of being a head football coach, whether it’s at Alabama, Florida or Notre Dame, and I think if you would probably ask Nick Saban and Urban they would say ‘don’t have time for hobbies, but I have time for myself’ and I think that’s really, in my position, what I look to find.”
You can read the entire Q&A with Brian Kelly right here.
Notre Dame hosts Purdue next Saturday to start the 2010 season.
26 walk-on hopefuls show for Bob Stoops' kicking tryout
Bob Stoops isn’t pleased with the Sooners’ place-kicking, so the Oklahoma program held walk-on tryouts at the kicker position on Thursday afternoon. Place-kickers Jimmy Stevens (11-13) and Patrick O’Hera (6-9) return from last season, but the competition hasn’t been good enough for Stoops’ liking.
Assistant coach Bobby Jack Wright said, "There was like 26 over there. It's the first I've been anywhere where we've had a tryout this late. But hey, if we find a kicker out of it, I'm all for it. That would be great."
Oklahoma hosts Utah State in the season-opener on September 2nd. The Sooners then play Florida State, Air Force, and at Cincinnati.
Lane Kiffin responds to Peyton Manning comments
In an entirely overblown story earlier in the week, Peyton Manning gave his opinion on Lane Kiffin. On Thursday, Lane responded in an intelligent, classy, and professional manner.
Manning said, “It'd probably be a short conversation. I certainly got to know him when he was the head coach at Tennessee. I don't have anything personal against him. But I think the one thing where Tennessee, as a whole group was kind of hurt, our pride was hurt, was that we didn't think that Tennessee was a transition job. … I've always thought and the big orange nation thought that Tennessee was a destination job. Unless you were fired or retired, that was the place to be. … I wish Lane the best of luck there at Southern Cal and I'm sure he'll do a good job."
On Thursday, when asked how a conversation would go with Peyton, Kiffin responded, “It would be fine. I have great respect for Peyton. I would not expect him to say anything different that what he said. If you have been to Tennessee, if you followed the football program there, there is no other college job but Tennessee for Tennessee people. I totally respect that. Peyton is Mr. Tennessee. I don’t think Peyton could have said anything different. That’s no different than all the Tennessee fans feel, there’s no better job than the University of Tennessee and there never will be, no matter what.”
We’re not really sure why we brought you this story. We guess just to point out Kiffin’s intelligence, class, and professionalism in response to Peyton’s pride.
Friday morning Coaches Quick Hits
Some interesting quotes from around the country:
Quoting UCONN head coach Randy Edsall: "I don't want to negative recruit against myself. You've been to Storrs, Conn. There ain't a whole lot there. When you don't have the history and tradition that a lot of the other schools have, when you come in to recruit, you better have something to offset that. That's where the facilities come into play. There's nobody in the country that has anything better."
Georgia player Bacarri Rambo describes defensive coordinator Todd Grantham: “He’s like a father figure. I feel like I can go to him and talk to him about stuff that’s not related to football. Like if I’m having a family problem or school problem, I can go to his office and he always talks to me and [tells] me to come to his office and talk to him about my personal problems and stuff.”
Quoting Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham: “[Players] have to trust that you believe in them and that you’re looking out for their best interest. I think it’s just about treating each person with the respect that you would want as a player and just trying to get to know your players and always communicate with them.”
Houston DC Brian Stewart says his outlook has changed: "My outlook has changed tremendously. You have to understand there are naysayers and people who don't like you; don't try to please the naysayers and don't kiss the other people's butts. Be yourself, and let it go. I want to be a great football coach and work in an environment where I can be treated with respect and be liked. But I want people to know I can do this and that I know what I'm doing."
Jimbo Fisher describes when Nick Saban hired him at LSU: “He called me out of the blue. I was coaching at Cincinnati, he got the job at LSU. And he had heard my name from some people and he called me up. Matter of fact, I was home at Thanksgiving, after our season at Cincinnati was over … we had a meeting at his house. After we interviewed about 20 minutes, he stopped and walked upstairs and offered me the job … first time I'd ever talked to him.”
Les Miles talks about Jordan Jefferson: "Jordan has started to realize that quarterback is more than a position. He's not just calling a play. Jordan has to have a wider, more encompassing vision of the position."
San Jose State head coach Mike MacIntyre talks about assistant Bryant Young: "The thing that you're sometimes concerned about with guys who come out of the NFL is that they really don't understand the grind of coaching. But B.Y. completely understands. He's a very hard worker and does a great job of relating to young men."
Quoting Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe: "What we've got more than anything is an enthusiastic group that's excited about playing defense. I think that's the most important thing. It's a pretty physical unit. They like to mix it up. They like to get 11 guys around the football. ... This is a defensive football team that can be a pretty good one."
Skip Holtz shows off future practice facility at South Florida: