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Photos: An updated look at Baylor's new McLane Stadium

Imagine being a recruit and, on your official visit, the host coaches decide that their best chances of landing you is to not show you the stadium you would play your home games in. If you did see the stadium at all, it was at night. 

This was Baylor football in the not-too-distant past.

On top of playing in the dilapidated Floyd Casey Stadium, Bears coaches also officed out of Floyd Casey, which meant the entire Baylor football program was a 15-minute ride away from campus until the on-campus Simpson Center opened during the 2008 season. 

Needless to say, this is no longer the case (no pun intended).

The Bears open McLane Stadium in less than eight weeks. In anticipation of the opening, the Bears invited media on a tour of the locker room and playing surface. Needless to say, the days of shielding recruits away from the stadium are long gone. 

In fact, Baylor recruits will have their own room inside McLane Stadium with a field-level view of the game, as well as giant video screens on which they can view classic Bears games or - of course - play XBox. 

“We think it’s pretty spectacular,” Baylor associate athletic director Todd Patulski told the Waco Tribune-Herald. “The recruiting game is competitive, and you’re bringing in 17- and 18-year-old kids who want to be impressed. This is certainly going to accomplish that. You basically manage their entire experience.”

 

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(Photos courtesy of ESPN and the Waco Tribune-Herald)

Epic 'Team Night' rap battle

Ah Summer...the time for team building. Many programs, especially those fortunate enough to have strong leadership and buy-in from the players, parents and administration, have their coaches and players get together in a camp like setting for a couple of days. Some of that time is focused on planning for the season; but much of this time is focused on team building. 

At Redmond High School (WA), head coach Jason Rimkus recently gathered his troops for their team camp. Rimkus told FootballScoop that during the day they would work out, talk ball and philosophy, vote on and announce captains for the upcoming season and decide upon their motto for the season; but each night he gathered up his group of 100+ guys and spent a few hours on teambuilding exercies...culminating in their last night in which they go "game night". "X-boxes all around, a lot of fun competition, everybody enjoys themselves." 

Well, here's where the story gets a little different. For background, Redmond's defensive backs coach Morio Mongomery, aka Coach Mo, is a former rapper. After serving in the Navy, Coach Mo lived in L.A. for the better part of a decade and had a pretty good run at the rap thing, before deciding he wanted to devote his life to improving the lives of young men through coaching and teaching. 

Well, to close out camp, one of the players challenged Coach Mo to a rap battle and, well, this is just something you have to see. Props to coach Coach Mo and to the young man Riley Brown, aka  "Lobe Thunder". 

Coaches hope camps like this will bring the team together. There is no doubt in my mind that every player will remember this night for a long, long time. 

 

Oklahoma has acquired former Mizzou wide receiver Dorial Beckham-Green

Here's a tweet most of us didn't expect to see today:

The verb "acquired" in sports is usually saved for the professional ranks, but it's what feels most appropriate in Thursday's news of former Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. It felt like a free agent acquisition. A star wide receiver finds a new home at a powerhouse program in need of a 6'6" pass-catcher with 17 touchdowns in 87 career grabs.

Of course, Green-Beckham only became a former Missouri wide receiver after his April dismissal following a burglary investigation that ultimately resulted in no charges being filed. 

This isn't the first time Stoops has taken a hot button transfer, but it tells you enough about how much Bob Stoops values Green-Beckham's talent.

The timing of this move should not be ignored. On the day before the Fourth of July, in the deadest of dead periods on the college football calendar, it can be assumed not many of Oklahoma's colleagues were working today. Many writers, including myself, wondered how the Sooners were able to host a recruitable athlete during a dead period, but Green-Beckham was already a Sooner before he was spotted on the Oklahoma campus today.

There is always risk involved in taking a player another program has dismissed, but this is a calculated one for Stoops. For one, Green-Beckham has pledged to behave on a different level than he showed in Columbia, where his the burglary investigation was not his first run-in with local law enforcement. "OU is a great program and I feel privileged to be part of it," he said in the university's statement. "The university has made the expectations clear and I want to live up to them and be a positive part of the campus and team." Second, Oklahoma is not going into this arrangement blind. The Sooners stated they have done their due diligence on DGB, and this is the same staff that recruited him heavily back when Green-Beckham was the nation's top-rated player out of Springfield, Mo. Oklahoma was a finalist, along with Texas and Arkansas, when Green-Beckham pledged to Missouri in February 2012. That undoubtedly played a part. So, too, did his six catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns in the SEC Championship last December. 

And this brings us to another bullet point of this story: the chance that Green-Beckham does not play for Oklahoma at all. This upcoming season will be his third in college football, meaning he is eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft. In theory, DGB has an equal chance of being a Minnesota Viking or a Tampa Bay Buccaneer as an Oklahoma Sooner 10 months from now. 

Oklahoma has stated it will appeal the NCAA for immediate eligibility under the "run-off rule" exemption, which would require help from Missouri.

There is precedent Oklahoma can point to, as just two weeks ago former LSU basketball player Anthony Hickey was approved for immediate eligibility at Oklahoma State under the same rule. The difference, though, is that Hickey left LSU purely for basketball-related reasons, not for appearing in the crime blotter of the Baton Rouge Advocate. 

Video: Auburn's moving tribute to Philip Lutzenkirchen

I did not know Philip Lutzenkirchen, the person, only Philip Lutzenkirchen, the Auburn tight end. But after seeing this moving video tribute, I wish I had a chance to get to know the person that seemed to brighten the lives of so many around him. 

Kirby Smart: 'If you get the wrong (head coaching job), it could be the last one'

Examine Kirby Smart's rise up the coaching ladder, and it looks pretty typical for the profession - almost a stop a year. After playing at Georgia from 1995-98 and then spending another year in Athens, Smart took his first coaching job as the defensive backs coach at Valdosta State in 2000. By 2002 he was a graduate assistant at Florida State, and then joined Nick Saban's staff at LSU as defensive backs coach in 2004. He returned to his alma mater to coach running backs in 2005, then reunited with Saban as the Miami Dolphins' safeties coach in 2006. That's five moves in seven years. Again, pretty typical for the industry. 

Then, in 2007, Smart followed Saban to Tuscaloosa - his sixth stop in eight years - and that's when the moving stopped. It's not as if Smart hasn't been wanted elsewhere, either. He was offered the Auburn head job in 2012 - though the timing of his offer juxtaposed against Gus Malzahn's offer is unclear, Smart was indeed offered the job - and could certainly have pursued head jobs outside the Power Five conferences had he found one desirable.

But he hasn't.

"I'm not sitting here saying I got to go today in order just to take one to take it," Smart said. "Every one of them says don't just jump at the first one. If you get the wrong one, it will be the last one." In an interview with Atlanta's 680 The Fan, Smart noted that he takes pride in the fact that his six-year-old twins know only of life in Tuscaloosa. 

Smart has been counseled by Joe Kines - who went 3-6-1 as Arkansas' interim head coach in 1992 - and Kevin Steele - who went 9-36 as Baylor's head coach from 1999-2002. Neither was a head coach after that. 

With his status (and salary) as one of the very best coordinators in college football, and still being a year and a half shy of his 40th birthday, Smart reserves the right to change his mind, but for right now is more than happy in his current role. 

"I could finish my career being a defensive coordinator and say, 'Hey, he's Mickey Andrews,'" Smart said. "I'd be happy knowing that I had success doing it and I was the best I could be at my job.

"If the opportunity knocks, then so be it."

Read the full story here.

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