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Behind the scenes of Malzahn's debut

USA Today did an interesting piece following Gus Malzahn up to Oregon for his FBS head coaching debut.

During their pregame walk through at Autzen, some of the players couldn't help but soak up the environment, surely unlike any other place that most had ever played in. Players were snapping pictures of the stadium when Malzahn told his assistants, "Get those guys off the field! They're acting like this is Disneyland or something."

For those of you that didn't catch the actual game, Oregon scored on their first seven possessions and entered the half up 50-10, which prompted Malzahn to lay into his guys afterwards.

"We laid a stinkin' egg! Those guys are really good, but we laid a stinkin' egg!"

"They've embarrassed us. This is a defining moment in our season!" he told the team.

The Red Wolves ended up giving up 57 points, but starting clicking in the second half, putting up 34 points before it was all said and done.

"The first half, they embarrassed us, big-time," Malzahn said. "I'm proud of the way we fought back. Most teams would have shut 'er down. You played probably the best team in college football. I'm encouraged. We're gonna stick together. We're gonna have one heck of a season."

The article also points out that Malzahn sees his rise through the coaching ranks as anything but logical, pointing out that back in 2006 Malzahn was coaching at the high school level. As he sees it, "There hasn't been anything logical about my career."

Also covered is everything from Malzahn's pre game calls to top recruits to a peek into how he prepared leading up to the game.

Fascinating stats from week 1

As coaches, we are all aware that winning the turnover differential leads to victories more often than not, and that was evident with games in week 1. While recapping the action up until Sunday morning, 45 of the 49 teams that won the turnover differential won their game. Massachusetts, Vanderbilt, Toledo, and Boise State were the only teams to win the turnover battle but lose the game. Of the 14 teams that gained four or more turnovers, only Boise State (4) came out on the losing end.

Other interesting notes from this weekend's action:

Three teams stuffed the run well enough to show a negative in the "yards gained" column of the stat sheet. Illinois (-6 rushing yards allowed), BYU (-5 rushing yards allowed), and Ohio State (-1 rushing yards allowed) all defended the run well and won by at least 17 points. Only two teams, Texas Tech and Wisconsin, did not allow a rushing first down over the weekend.

Eleven defenses allowed less than 5 yards per pass attempt, including Western Kentucky and Oklahoma who set the bar at less than 2 yards per (Western Kentucky - 1 yard per attempt, Oklahoma - 1.85 yards per attempt).

Two offenses attempted at least three fourth down attempts and converted on 100% of them (Air Force went 4/4 and Utah went 3/3). On that same note, both Hawaii (4/6 on fourth down - 67%) and Arkansas State (4/5 on fourth down - 80%) had impressive fourth down conversion percentages, but lost.

Nebraska, Purdue, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State are all converting an impressive percentage of third downs. Nebraska and Purdue are converting at an 80% clip while Notre Dame and Oklahoma State are sitting pretty at 70%. Each team won their opener by at least 29 points.

The only teams to escape with a win after throwing two or more interceptions were Michigan State, and Maryland.

Four teams accounted for no, or negative punt return yardage that had the opportunity to return two or more punt returns. Florida Atlantic (2 attempts and -1.5 yards per return), North Carolina State (2 returns and -1.5 yards), UAB (3 returns at -2 yards per return), Akron (2 returns at -3.5 per attempt) all finished with negative punt return yardage.

Even though they each had only had one return, USC (100 yards), New Mexico (98 yards) and East Carolina (90 yards) are all averaging over 90 yards per return with touchdowns coming on those returns.




Inside Scoop: Alan Hall - Transitioning from NAIA to D-II

In December Alan Hall was named head coach at Northwestern Oklahoma State. Since his hiring, the University has been approved to move up to NCAA Division II. Northwestern Oklahoma State begins play in the Great American Conference this season. 

Coach Hall speaks about the transition and some of the challenges (including not having his full staff for all 12 months). 

Glenn Spencer: "We were playing for the shutout for Bill Young"

Despite having linebackers coach Glenn Spencer calling the defense in Bill Young's absence on Saturday, and playing the fourth string guys late in the game, the goal of a shutout remained the same for the Cowboys against Savannah State.

"Even when it was the fourth-team guys there most of the second half, I said, 'It doesn't matter. We're holding you accountable, so we can get this shutout for Bill.' That's what the defense was playing for." Spencer, who is filling in for Young while he recovers from a medical procedure, explained.

In his post game press conference, Gundy noted that Young is doing well and wants to be back as soon as possible.

"Anytime you lose a coach, it can affect your team. We have some young coaches that have been with us for a number of years, and we have a lot of faith in them. They work hard and do a good job, but, you know, essentially we're down a coach and we want to get him back as soon as possible, and he wants to be back as soon as possible."

"There's some communication that has to take place there, because for however many years now, he's been calling defenses and that communication has to get out to the field. So you have a new guy calling them, and then once he's made those calls, recording what's going on on the field, there's one less guy doing that. So, there are some adjustments that have to go on."

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