Cage Match - Grantham, Dan Quinn, and VanGorder

Legend has it (or maybe we just dreamt it up) that during the off-season Todd Grantham and Dan Quinn square off in an annual cage match in order to sort out SEC east defensive coordinator supremacy.

We also heard that Brian VanGorder wanted in so badly that he took the job at Auburn and plans to challenge every defensive coordinator in the west...

Anyone else thinking we've got a made for TV special coming soon? 

From the looks of the video above, Quinn is one guy you don't want to see when the cage door gets locked behind you. How great would it be to see Muschamp put the gloves on, step in and just unleash his fury on Quinn? 

Leach talks about the lengths he goes to keep his assistants happy

At the end of his press conference last night, Mike Leach was asked about any pregame rituals that he finds himself doing on game day.

Leach noted that because of the way they have structured their time, the actual routine of game day becomes the ritual, and that even though games are at different times, he often finds himself in the same part of his routine at the same time prior to kick off each week.

Coach Leach then explains one ritual, involving the B12 shot, that he was forced to continue while he was at Texas Tech to give his coaches peace of mind on the sidelines.

Pretty funny story.

"Success comes when you have a team that wants discipline, accountability and education"

According to Alabama secondary coach Jeremy Pruitt, when you get a group of guys together that want the discipline, and accountability to go along with a hunger for their degree, special things can happen.

"When you put together a group of guys who want the discipline, who want the education, who want to be held accountable, then you can have something special.

Pruitt notes that winning football games and competing for championships is a combination of all of those things, as past national championship teams have demonstrated.

"Everybody knows about the winning we have going on right now at Alabama," he explained. "But we're there for more reasons than that. When we beat Texas for the national championship, we had 22 guys who played in that game who had their degrees. When we beat LSU for the national championship, we had 21 guys who played in that game who had their degrees. That's what it's about - developing the complete player."

During a recent speaking engagement, Pruitt explained that their challenge right now is maintaining their motivation while they're on top.

"Our challenge right now is: We're 5-0. We haven't had our nose rubbed in it for a while. Are we going to have the motivation to do what we have to do to keep getting better, or are we going to have to have some kind of failure to get to where we have to say, 'I told you so.'?

Alabama's remaining schedule with road games at Missouri, Tennessee and LSU, will test the identity and character that the team is made of, Pruitt explains.

"We've got five games here in a row where we'll kind of run the gauntlet in the SEC. It's hard to win on the road in the SEC, and any win you get, you are thankful for it. We're going to find out our identity. We're going to find out what kind of character we have." 

The five game SEC stretch following this weekend's bye that Pruitt is referring to is comprised of road games at Missouri (3-2, 0-2), Tennessee (3-2, 0-2) and LSU (5-0, 1-0), and the Tide will get Mississippi State (4-0, 1-0) and Texas A&M (3-1, 1-1) at home.





Butch Jones: "If we weren't mentally ready, we wouldn't be singing"

What a weekend both on and off the field for Butch Jones and the Cincinnati Bearcats. After moving their “home” game against Virginia Tech to FedEx Field just outside of Washington DC, the Bearcats went into Hokie territory and came away with an improbable 27-24 victory. 

Trailing by four with 1:43 left in the 4th, the Bearcats started at their own 15 and quickly drove into Virginia Tech territory. With just 13 seconds left in the game, QB Munchie Legaux connected with Damon Julian for an incredible diving 39-yard touchdown pass to win it for Cincinnati as they improved to 3-0. 

The game was played in the Washington Redskins’ stadium just outside of DC, a chance for Coach Jones and his staff to showcase the Bearcats program in a recruiting hotbed. Add to the fact that the University pocketed an estimated $3 million for moving their home game, leaving with a W makes it all the more sweeter. 

We included a video below from Coach Jones’ blog, which has some great footage of the game winning touchdown and the rowdy locker room celebration which ensued afterwards. We also get a glimpse into his post game address to his team, where he confidently tells his players “if we keep training and you keep believing in the way we play football, we can’t be beat.” 

One of the best moments in the winning locker room is from Cincinnati interim President Dr. Santa Ono, who addressed the team and informed them of a little friendly wager he made before the season with Jones.  Dr. Ono had pledged to his head coach that if the Bearcats were to win 10 games in a row, he would shave his head. The Bearcats are 7 more wins away from that haircut but the UC President went on to tell the players “I want to lose my hair.” Time will tell if President Ono will sport a new haircut to another BCS bowl game for the Bearcats this season.

Cutcliffe explains his "best program in the country" comment

Last week, Duke head coach David Cutcliffe raised some eyebrows when he proclaimed that he thought Duke had the best program in the country. For a team that hasn’t played in a bowl game in 17 seasons, it was a lofty statement.  Cutcliffe made sure to clarify that he didn’t mean the Blue Devils were the best team, but his statement speaks volumes about the success of Duke Football since he arrived in Durham. 

In his first four seasons at Duke, Cutcliffe’s teams have won more games than Duke did from 1999 until his arrival in 2008. After defeating Wake Forest on Saturday, Duke improved to 4-1, their best start since 1994, and just two wins away from that elusive bowl berth. Quite a turnaround for a “basketball school”. “Our program is pretty salty, pretty solid,” Cutcliffe said. “It’s probably ahead of the teams we’ve had to this point. But the team is not far behind now.”

The road to six wins and a bowl won’t be easy, with tough matchups against North Carolina, Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Miami on the horizon, but after falling just short of a bowl berth last season, the Blue Devils are determined to get over the hump and play in the postseason. Asked how he motivates his players despite the long bowl drought, Cutcliffe said “It’s never fun to be on a bad end of a streak. It should motivate people, naturally.”

As the football team in enjoying some much needed success on the field, the work that Cutcliffe and his staff have put in are now paying dividends off the field. Although Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium is considered one of the most historic stadiums in the country, sitting in the shadows of the famed basketball arena Cameron Indoor, it is also one of the most run down and unappealing BCS conference stadiums in the country. This weekend it was announced that for the first time since opening in 1929, Wallace Wade will undergo major renovations, which will include removing the running track that surrounds the field, closing in the open endzone, adding over 10,000 new seats, and building a new press box and luxury suites.

Part of a $100 million athletic facilities upgrade, Duke football facilities will be getting a major facelift, and it is all thanks to the upgrade David Cutcliffe and his staff made to the football program, the best program in the country in his opinion.

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