This is how you prepare for a tough schedule
The University of South Alabama is entering their fourth season of existence, and have been able to make some impressive gains on the field and in the weight room.
Last year they finished 6-4 as an FCS Independent. This season the Jaguars will take on North Carolina State, Mississippi State, Troy, FAU, FIU, Arkansas State and Hawaii... talk about a tough schedule.
The strength staff will definitely have them prepared for the big boys. Take a look at the video below showing the team maxing out. These guys are throwing around some serious weight.
Video: Offensive line drills at WMU
Western Michigan is rolling out a new multi-part series shadowing the entire staff, starting with offensive line coach A.J Ricker, who is entering his second spring as the Bronco offensive line coach.
The video below is the first installment, and shadows Coack Ricker on the field during some offensive line and PAT / field goal drills, as well as some good interview bits about his overall approach to coaching the offensive line, and why he thinks players today "have it easy".
FIU spring hype video
FIU released an impressive hype video yesterday mixing season highlights with their off season efforts.
The Golden Panthers finished last season 8-5, with only one of their losses coming by more than 10 points (and three of the five losses by a total of 10 points). From the looks of this video, Cristobal and the staff will be looking to close that gap and win at least a share of the conference title for the second time in three seasons.
FIU's spring game is slated for the March 30th.
Video: Mattison shares some valuable insight
Greg Mattison sat down with the media for the first time this offseason to talk about the progression and expectations for the defense in the second year under his leadership.
The number one goal is to get better at everything they do in the defense, one practice at a time, Mattison told reporters.
Mattison noted that every defense he has ever seen or been a part of has been "strong down the middle" starting with a good noseguard, then linebackers, and then the safeties.
The video is a bit long, but there are a few gems at the end worth hanging in there for. At one point a reporter asks about a player that had lost a significant amount of weight, and Mattison was flattered for a moment, thinking that the reporter was referring to him.
He also remarks at the end about a few guys that haven't been in pads as of yet, and have only been able to participate in conditioning. "This isn't cross country, they can come out there and run like crazy...they can be the best runners in the world and if they won't hit anybody, I won't like them as much".
Oregon State strength staff focusing on "want to"
Just before we stopped by Corvallis last week on the Pac 12 Tour, we brought you a video highlighting the Beavers intense off season efforts.
Brian Miller, Oregon States sports performance center director, told ESPN's Kevin Gemmell recently that the emphasis for this off season was to work on the team's "want to".
Miller explains that the "'want to' refers to the individual's preconceived internal desire to maximize and apply effort to everything they are doing. You have to want to get better, you have to want to be faster, you have to want to overcome an injury, you have to want to eat and recover properly"
Miller believes that football is about more than just effort. In his opinion, "you have to peel away the many layers and factors that create and influence effort; and that begins with an individual’s 'want to.' Simply put, the team was challenged every day to be on a relentless pursuit of increasing their 'want to.' You have that approach every day and mix in a highly competitive training environment and you hope that it carries over onto the football field.”
Oregon State will begin to put that belief to the test when they take the field on April 3 to kick off spring ball. The Beavers spring game will take place April 28.
Good stuff from Pitt DC Dave Huxtable
New Pitt defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable sat down with PittPantherVision, and former Pitt quarterback Pat Bostick to talk about his objectives through spring ball and what drew him to Pittsburgh.
Huxtable says that the tradition at Pitt and the familiarity he had working with Paul Chryst last year at Wisconsin made this new opportunity very appealing.
According to Huxtable, the main goal through spring ball is that the defense comes out with a good grasp on the new scheme and that players become "professionals at their techniques" so they are prepared for the fall.
Bostick also asked Huxtable if any leaders are emerging at this point, and Huxtable responded by saying "I think that's a little longer of a process. Right now they're all trying to learn, and once they gain that confidence in knowing what they're doing, I think some leaders will emerge".
Grambling State staff visits with LSU
Grambling State head coach Doug Williams and several assistants traveled to Baton Rouge to visit with Les and the LSU staff recently and came away with some valuable stuff.
A few years ago when they met at a camp, Les told Williams, "You let me know. Any time you can come, you can come." Williams said that when he picked up the phone to ask Les about bringing his staff in for a visit, Les more than happy to have them. "When I called about the possibility of doing some sort of spring training, he didn't hesitate" Williams said.
The visit to Baton Rouge was much different than some visits Williams has taken in the past because they got the opportunity to sit in on their meeting and the staff actually asked what they wanted to know, and also went over some individual drill work as well.. At some places Williams said that they would "sit you in a room and give you film and you get what you want from it". LSU was much more personal in their approach.
With 8 year staff veteran Andre Robinson taking over the defensive coordinator duties this season, Williams said taking the time to visit LSU was a no-brainer.
"For us, it's a pleasure to be able to go down to LSU and sit in. The difference with LSU, Tech, Grambling and ULM is we're not Division I. We're Division I-AA, so I don't play against LSU, and I'm not trying to be on the same level. I am trying to learn what they do, and there's no animosity there. I'm glad for the opportunity to come in and have them welcome us with open arms." Williams explained.
We have a feeling Williams left Baton Rouge feeling pretty good about the fall. As they were leaving, Les told him that he thought he had done a great job putting together a good staff that "worked hard and understood". Compliments from Les don't get much better than that.
Leach ready to hit the field for spring ball
In a matter of a few months, Mike Leach and his staff have had to put together a recruiting class, a new strength program, and install an entirely new offense and defense for the Cougars.
Starting with winter conditioning, Leach said that he was impressed with the progress that they made.
“I thought some competitive aspects emerged, you could see guys develop and be a little more competitive. You could see kind of some leaders emerge a little bit. I thought it was very good. The other thing is with regard to working hard, nobody really knows how hard they can work. Everybody can work harder than they think they can.”
Leach says spring practices will be an especially tall order for them. “Every year, you want to evaluate and then, of course, sharpen your skills. In our case, we have to install our package and teach it to everybody. This isn’t going to be a case where you teach it to some and then you’ve got the older guys to help. In our case, we’ve got to teach it to everybody.”