Larry Johnson explains changing jobs is like 'changing parking lots, not cars'
This off season has been unlike any other off season that Larry Johnson has ever known.
After 18 years in Happy Valley where he wore blue every day, Johnson now sits in the offices at Ohio State, where wearing blue is not only banned, but you're not even allowed to write in blue ink because of the rival up north.
While he notes in Buckeye Extra that some things have changed, he uses an analogy to explain that he's the same coach and person, just doing it at a different location.
“I might have changed lots, but I didn’t change cars. There’s no question it’s different, because 18 years at one place — my staying at Penn State was because I was real loyal to my players. That’s why I stayed all those years. It was just that at this time, this juncture, it was time to separate.”
One area where Johnson and his message haven't had to change, is on the recruiting trail.
“Recruiting is recruiting; you’re just doing it for a different school. The product we sold at Penn State is the same product here: great students and student-athletes, quality players, quality people. That makes it easy to transition, because you’re recruiting the same kind of players.”
In the article, one coach talks about how weird it is to see Johnson walk into their school wearing a new color scheme, and how his approach to recruiting impacts high school kids. Read the whole piece here.
SEC players at the combine
We saw this tweet this morning (released by LSU director of player personnel Austin Thomas):
While the general order depicted probably is largely in line with most people's expectations (although I have to say that 40 in 4 years seems impressively high and 5 on the other end is surprisingly low), I wonder what this same type of image will look like 3 or 4 years from now.
Any informed opinions want to weigh in on this one? If so, tweet back to us and we'll add your thoughts to this article.
Video: Iowa football players collaborate with the dance team
The time between the end of bowl games and the start of spring ball is a stretch dominated by winter weight room sessions and grueling conditioning.
Every once in a while a video is brought to our attention that aims to break up that monotony for the players, and that's exactly what this clip from Iowa provides.
From the looks of it, the football team put in quite a bit of work with the Hawkeye dance squad to come up with this routine that they debuted during a recent halftime of a womens basketball game. It's too bad more people weren't in the stands to see this one live, because some of the guys can bust a move.
VIDEO: Abilene Christian announces plans for new on-campus stadium
It's a good time to be an Abilene Christian Wildcat.
After an aggressive courtship from Central Arkansas, Abilene Christian held on to head coach Ken Collums and signed him to a four-year contract extension in December. The Wildcats have completed their transitional move to Division I, becoming full-fledged members of FCS's Southland Conference this fall and open the 2014 season at Air Force. And, soon, they'll have a long-awaited brand new on-campus stadium as the cherry on top of their sundae.
Launched in 1910, the program has won or shared a dozen conference championships, most recently in 2010, claimed NAIA national championships in 1973 and 1977 and put 31 players in the NFL. Yet they've been trying to play a full home schedule on campus since the 1940's but have not been able to get it done. The Wildcats' official home is Shotwell Stadium, a 15,000 seat venue owned by Abilene Independent School District. It's not an ideal situation, especially for a soon-to-be Division I university.
Finally, that's about to change.
At a price tag of $30 million, Wildcat Stadium will contain 8,000 seats but create enough space to hold 12,000 people. It should open in time for the 2016 season.
"Our goal is clear," said Collums. "We intend to be one of the top up-and-coming FCS teams in the country. And while we already enjoy tremendous strengths as a program, securing our own stadium will provide an extraordinary new surge of momentum."
The sparkling new stadium adds Abilene Christian on to a growing list of college programs in Texas that have completed or in the process of constructing brand new stadiums or massive stadium renovations. SMU (Ford Stadium opened in 2000) and North Texas (Apogee Stadium, 2011) play in recently-completed stadiums, while new venues at Baylor and Houston will be done in time for this upcoming season. TCU essentially tore down Amon Carter Stadium and built a new one inside of it, and Texas A&M is in the process of doing the same with Kyle Field. Texas, Texas State and Texas Tech have also installed major upgrades to their existing stadiums.
It's definitely not a bad thing for Abilene Christian to have something in common with its Lone Star siblings.
Wildcats… This is your future home! Just announced today. Anthony Field at Wildcat Stadium pic.twitter.com/O6MT067bBm— Ken Collums (@kencollums) February 14, 2014
Mike Leach sums up the 10-second rule debate in one sentence
Mike Leach has been the strongest critic of the NCAA's proposed 10-second rule, going on Birmingham radio to say he will "debate anyone" on the merits of the rule. Considering he's college football's only head coach with a law degree, that's a debate he would probably win.
Or, of course, he could end the entire thing in one sentence. This is the same coach that once suggested college football should have a 64-team tournament with seeding based off graduation rates. So here's how he sums up the 10-second rule:
Love you, pirate. pic.twitter.com/NVRF0yabZF— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) February 14, 2014
'If you want to do it for a competitive advantage, then come out and say it'
Yesterday we covered the reception up-tempo offensive coaches had to the NCAA's proposed 10-second rule. Predictably, it wasn't pretty. And that's understandable. After all, this rule cuts at the heart of the way those coaches do business.
But perhaps the most vitriolic and dumbfounded responses have come from those who aren't affected at all by the rule, athletic trainers. Turns out, they're not big fans of using their livelihood as a political forcefield as a means to curb a competitive disadvantage.
"If you want to do it for a competitive advantage, then come out and say you're doing it for a competitive advantage," said Arizona head athletic trainer Raydn Cohen, chair of the college committee of the National Athletic Trainers' Association. "Don't say it's a safety issue because right now we don't have any data about this. None."
Jon Solomon of AL.com reached out to the medical community, and the response was muddied. Most agreed that a reduction of plays would thereby reduce the opportunity for injury and that a tired player is more likely to be injured, but all agreed there was no conclusive data to support a necessity for change.
"From the outside looking in, it looks like they're using the health and safety initiative to pass it this year because that's the only way to pass it," said Harvard head athletic trainer Brant Berkstresser, a member of the NCAA Competitive Safeguards Committee. "That being said, I don't think there's any harm for the student-athlete. The longer players are on the field or play a set amount of plays longer than the previous norm, you certainly can make a theoretical assumption that would increase the risks of injury."
Here's another, from Purdue biomedical engineer Thomas Talvage.
"This did not even come up at our task force meeting two weeks ago," Talavage said. "That's why I say I don't think their motivation behind this is necessarily the head."
If coaches truly wanted to make the game safer for defensive players, Talvage offered a sure-fire solution. "However, we have to keep in mind the hits they take in the game may only represent less than 50 percent of the total number of hits they take on a given week," he said. "A bigger benefit may be schools cutting down contact practices to twice a week."
"It's the boy who cried wolf," Cohen concluded. "If you keep crying wolf about safety, safety, safety, yet it isn't about safety, when you really want to implement something for safety, it won't get done and that will be a tragedy."
If you think your program has hurdles, you'll love this video
It doesn't matter what level you're at, or how successful a program has been, every football program has their own specific set of hurdles.
Mendota HS is a migrant farm worker town of 11,000, and if you just looked at photos of the community, you'd swear it wasn't even in the US, but in fact it's just 40 miles outside of Fresno, California.
In this video from ESPN, the worldwide leader profiles the challenges behind the California football powerhouse, the town behind it, and the families that ultimately make them who they are. There are going to be a lot of high school coaches out there that can relate to this community and the connect with the message of this video.
I highly recommend taking 20 minutes out of your day for this story, and every time your program hits a hurdle, think of the program at Mendota. This is absolutely outstanding.
UPDATE>> It looks like ESPN has replaced the 20 minute video with a short 3 minute trailer because the full version will be aired within the next night or two. The trailer is included below for now, but we will try to track down the full version and provide that as well as soon as it is available.
Interesting breakdown of how your players are using social media
The people over at Fieldhouse Media put together their second annual survey taking a look at how student athletes are utilizing social social media. This data was taken mainly from Division I student athletes (who made up for 64% of the data received) followed by 14% from NAIA programs, 13% from Division II programs and 9% from Division III programs.
Last year, we polled coaches on how they utilize social media and got some interesting results.
While Fieldhouse's full study can be seen here, I've included a handful of some of the more interesting takeaways from the study below that may interest you and your coaching staff, the compliance office, and your athletic director;
- 78% of student-athletes use Twitter (up from 72% last year)
- 78% of student-athletes are using Instagram (up from 65% a year ago)
-94% of all student-athletes are using Facebook.
-85% of student-athletes use Facebook less today than they did last year.
-40% have no social media education or training (down from 51% last year.
The following statistics are from areas that coaches would find particularly interesting;
- 6% of the student-athletes surveyed have received hateful or critical tweets from fans and 72% of them have responded to them.
- 18% of those surveyed on the use of Twitter admit to have tweeting something inappropriate (drugs, alcohol, sexual, racial, profanity), while 9% of Facebook users, and 5% of Instagram users admit to doing the same.
-8% of student-athletes admit to have checking social media during a game
-5% admit to posting on social media during a game
-38% spend more than 1 hour per day on some type of social media
One thing that can't be denied after looking at the various results of this study is that social media plays such a large role in the lives of our players today that we (as coaches, and an athletic department) should be finding some way to educate them on the dangers of it.
The results should also illustrate the most effective way for you and your staff to communicate with current players and recruits.