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Photos: Illinois' new unis
Luther staff issues a challenge
Nebraska's top recruiting tool?

D-II strength program making impressive gains

The strength program and staff up at Division II Western State College of Colorado has paved the way for some impressive gains this off season.

In all, 9 new players reached the 300 pound mark in cleans, and 21 new faces joined the 400 pound squat club. Perhaps even more impressively, the players set a total of 184 new personal records.

The two videos below show the hard work these guys have been putting in this off-season that have led to their progress. There are no short cuts being taken in Colorado!

GA of the Day - Byron Thomas (Texas A&M)

Byron Thomas has a great foundation (and a great story as well). He's from California, has coached and recruited up north and has now served as a grad assistant at both South Florida and Texas A&M. He both played for and worked for Ed Meierkort and earned just about the highest compliment one can from Mark Snyder (you gotta watch the video).

Every coach we have spoken with that has worked with Byron says great things about him. He's going to be one of the leaders of this profession twenty years down the road. 

Watch the video and hear him tell you about his road to Texas A&M...fascinating. Thomas' story should remind all young coaches that you never know when that break might come.

NCAA / NFL Coaches Academy

The NCAA sent us the list below showing all of the coaches that participated in the Coaches Academy last week.

2012 CoachesAcademy

Some sharp coaches on that list. Hope everyone enjoyed it. 

"Walk throughs" forbidden in Baltimore

John Harbaugh welcomed the rookies to the team practice facilities last week to prepare for rookie mini camp and made it clear that there will be no walk throughs for any of his guys.

"That term is forbidden around here. We don't do walk throughs. We do 'alignment, assignment, communication, and technique' practices. That's what we call it." Harbaugh explained, noting the tempo of the NFL.

Video: Water balloons at practice

We came across this video of spring practices down at Arizona over the weekend and the hard work and fun that they're having compelled us to share.

How many other programs out there use water balloons during practice? 

Defensive Line drills

Kevin Weston, assistant head coach / defensive line coach at Tusculum College recently sent us these drills looking to share them with coaches. 

First one is double team drill and the second is a post drill. Enjoy

Copper Helmets

AZ Helmets

Yes, Arizona is planning to use these new lids this season. They won't replace their standard white, red & blue; but these will be rolled out from time to time.

We like'em.  

California program Transitioning to D-II faces unique challenges

Azusa Pacific is transitioning from NAIA to Division II. The Cougars had an excellent season in 2011 winning 9 games and are looking to build on that success this season. 

However, as the lone D-II program in southern California, APU has a unique challenge in scheduling opponents. In fact, we noticed that they will play 5 opponents two times each in the upcoming 2012 season. 

Here's hoping the scheduling gets easier for these guys as awareness grows.