New uniforms at Eastern Michigan

Eastern Michigan just unveiled their updated Adidas uniforms for 2012.

The new look features new green, white and gray choices for the jerseys, pants (complete with a new sleeker belt-less design), and helmets. The jerseys added a wing design on the shoulders and have either "Eastern Michigan" or "Eagles" across the front.

To go along with the green helmet and traditional block "E", they've also added matte white and gray helmets with the same block "E" logo. All in all, Ron English and the Eagles will have 20 fresh uniform combinations once socks enter the mix.

"We are excited to be a part of an elite number of schools that Adidas chose to promote on a national stage. It's a compliment to the growth of our program and something the players are really going to enjoy." English said in the official press release.






A unique offensive philosophy

Back in May of 2010 Jim Lyall was named head coach at Siena Heights University, a new NAIA program in Adrian, Michigan. Lyall had previously spent over 20 years as the head coach at crosstown Adrian College, spending a total of 36 years on staff.

When he got to Siena Heights Lyall decided to employ a unique offensive strategy. He would have two completely different offensive units. One that ran the spread, and the other that ran a double wing scheme (or what they call the "X-Unit"). 

We hear that when the coaches decide to make the switch on game day, 11 new players take the field that specialize in the new scheme.

"Now people have to prepare for not only one offense, but for two. It’s two different styles of offenses, and for other teams to prepare for that in one week can be difficult.” Lyall explained. Taking a look at their stat sheets, it is not uncommon to see at least 10 players with at least one carry in any given game.

During the 2011 season, one coordinator (Jason Mensing) called the double wing plays, and another (Jeff Hancock) handled the spread play calling duties. 

We have heard from numerous high school coaches that the unique approach, coupled with the staff's hard work on the road recruiting, has made them popular with both coaches and recruits. The offensive versatility allows them to recruit student athletes that fit well in either scheme.

In a state already saturated with 6 D-III programs, 8 D-II programs, 5 D-I programs, and one other NAIA program the Saints have signed an impressive 53 players in their incoming freshman class and featured 123 players on the roster last season.

Mensing, who has since taken the head coaching job at Ottawa Lake Whiteford HS (MI), explained the recruiting advantage to Adrian's Daily Telegram last season.

“The best thing about it for me is we’re creating greater opportunities for kids to achieve for us. The skill set that’s required for our system is different than the skill set for the spread. We have that many more athletes that we’re utilizing. Ultimately, that means we have more guys helping our team win.”

In their inaugural season the Saints went 8-1 (with a handful of D-III JV teams and club teams on the schedule). Still, the Saints were very efficient offensively, scoring at least 28 points in all but two games, including a five game stretch where they outscored opponents 255-25.

Ole Miss staff: "Connecting" with their guys

Under the Lights, a series from FSN South, got a pass inside Ole Miss for their spring practices and judging from the footage, two things are certain. Tempo is continually stressed during practice on both sides of the ball, and the players have developed an instant connection with the coaching staff.

When the players were asked about the new staff and their impressions since their arrival, each player echoed the same message; a connection with the staff since has been formed since the very beginning.

Some good footage in here of Freeze and his offensive and defensive staff harping on practice tempo as well.

Dantonio: The #1 thing is relationships

Listen to any of Mark Dantonio's press conferences this off season and you'll hear a consistent message that credits their success, in large part, to their ability to retain assistants.

As we have noted before, the defensive staff at Michigan State has been together for an impressive 9 seasons, dating back to their time at Cincinnati. Offensively, the staff has lost two guys that left to run their own programs in Dan Enos (Central Michigan) and Don Treadwell (Miami of Ohio). Not a bad 9 year stretch for staff retention.

"My mentality, my No. 1 goal, is to impact and influence and have relationships with our young people for the rest of their lives, that's it. Beyond that, everything else becomes window dressing. We're not naive to the fact that we have to win. We're not naive to the fact that we have to graduate our players, and we're doing those things."

"The No. 1 thing is the relationships. I think that you can't foster those relationships without continuity on your staff. And that speaks volumes about who our staff is. They're not just coaches, they're not just guns for hire." Dantonio explained.

Team Prowler pull-push

The guys at up at Villanova sent us a good team drill that they're using to give their guys an edge heading into this season.

Below is a clip of their pull-push sled drill that they have set up as a team relay competition. Enjoy.

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