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Sark adjusting scrimmage format to limit injuries

It’s not some revolutionary idea, but Steve Sarkisian seems to really be emphasizing a certain format of scrimmaging during spring practice.  One strong purpose of the format and philosophy is to limit the number of injuries.

Following Thursday’s practice, Sark talked to reporters about what to expect during Saturday’s practice.

Sark explained, “It won’t be a full blow scrimmage.  It’s going to be a very controlled atmosphere.  We’re going to have different scrimmage settings as the practice goes on, but we’re not just going to put the ball down and play.  We’re really trying to hone in on the special situations of the game and understand those situations.”

“When you add it all up, it will be a 100 play scrimmage, but it won’t always appear like that to the naked eye because we break it up into segments and we try to give our guys some rest.”

“The challenge of it is that we are 25 guys short who would normally be playing.  It’s easy just to go and scrimmage, but in the spring, that’s when guys get hurt because guys are tired, you don’t have as many bodies, you’re rotating guys quicker and that’s how guys fall down and get rolled up on.”

“So our emphasis has been on breaking it up into segments, we mix it up with special teams and individual setting and different things, so our guys are fresh when we are scrimmages and we get the most out of them.”

 




UCF assistant talking national championship

David Kelly believes UCF can win a national championship.

Kelly, who coached for two seasons under George O’Leary at Georgia Tech, has served as the wide receivers coach / assistant head coach at UCF since 2007.

He explained to ESPN’s Jamie Newburg, "I sincerely feel that the long term potential is there for us to compete and win a national championship. We are putting together outstanding recruiting classes and we are going after some of the best prospects across the country. Now we can attract those athletes. The facilities are there. NFL coaches and scouts can't believe our place because all of the elements are there."

"We have been in our championship game three out of six years and won it twice. Then we beat Georgia, so that was two big hurdles for us last year. We beat a tradition-rich SEC school. That was a tremendous barometer of where we are.”

"There is a newness about us. I think we are becoming somewhat of a fad. We have a beautiful resort-like campus, brand new facilities and we are in an international city like Orlando." 

One of the hurdles could be landing a spot in a BCS conference.  In fact, that is a goal and will happen according to athletic director Keith Tribble.

Earlier this week, Tribble stated, “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”

Tribble added, “This program is trending the right way and doing the right things. We can’t stop doing the things we need to do to make this program great.”

UCF opens with four consecutive non-conference games.  The Golden Knights play Charleston Southern, Boston College, at FIU, and at BYU.

 




Stunning News: Another Tennessee coach leaves for USC

Evidently, they are still scared in Knoxville over Lane Kiffin “shootin’ deuces” and heading to Southern California.

In a stunning practical joke announcement captured on video, Knoxville New Sentinel sports editor John Adams has made a sudden decision to accept a position at USC and will not be serving as the honorary head coach of the Orange Team during Saturday’s spring game.

Last spring, the Orange Team made serious strides under Adams in his first year as head coach.

Adams, ala Kiffin, started his presser by saying, “First of all, thanks everybody for coming on short notice.  This wasn’t in the works for very long.”

Adams added, “I’ve been there before and this is just a really special opportunity for me.  For me, it just a dream is calling and I’ve got to answer.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  And it’s the only place in the world that I would have gone to.”

Here’s the practical joke video, courtesy of the Knoxville News.  Below that, since this is a slow Thursday, we’ll give you the original (Lane Kiffin “shootin’ deuces”).  




Rutgers assistant blows out hammie, toughness being tested

Toughness has always been a staple of Greg Schiano’s program at Rutgers.  Now, the toughness of one of his assistants is being tested.

Rutgers defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley recently blew out a hammie.

Hafley, who joined the Rutgers staff this off-season after coming the last few years at Pitt, was limping quite noticeably today at practice.

Following practice, head coach Greg Schiano met with reporters and said, “Yeah, we have a coach on the IR.  We got him gimping around out there…treatment.  We gotta see if he’s tough.  We’ll see.”

Then Schiano unloaded, “When you spend a couple of years elsewhere, you get back to Jersey, we gotta find out if he’s tough enough.”

A reporter responded, “You soften up in Pittsburgh?”

A smiling Schiano responded, “I didn’t say that.  You were trying to set that up.  I’m not going to agree to that.  We don’t need that on their bulletin board.”

Schiano paused then added, “Born at night, but not last night.”

It was all fun and games.  Pick it up at the 2 minute mark…




Dan Mullen: The hierarchy on this staff is I'm one, he's two

Spring football is over at Mississippi State, so the next time Dan Mullen and his coaching staff can be hands on with the players is August 4th.

For now, Mullen will hand over the players to his most trusted staff member, head strength coach Matt Balis.

Mullen told Brad Locke of the Tupelo Daily Journal, "I tell people, the hierarchy on the football staff is I'm one, he's two. That, to me, is the hierarchy of this program, of how decisions are made, who people report to, how the program's run. You have to have somebody in that position that you trust."

"I trust Matt Balis with anything that I possess or own."

Admittedly, Mullen is a “control freak,” but going into his third year as head coach, Mullen says he’s changed a little bit.

"I'm probably more relaxed now than when I first came in. I maybe delegate some responsibilities a little bit better. I'm still kind of a control freak – I just like things done, and I like them done the right way. But I'm also much more relaxed in letting our coaches go coach, and I want to evaluate the effort that players give."

Coming off a 9-4 season, Mullen says the voluntary workouts are going to be critical.

"If we take some good strides forward between now and then, I think we'll have a great year," said Mullen. "If guys kind of go through the motions and they're not pushing themselves to the next level on their own, it'll be a long season for us."

The Bulldogs open at Memphis, at Auburn, then host LSU on Thursday night primetime.  

Today, Dan Mullen and athletic director Scott Stricklin talked about the future of Mississippi State football.  




Video: James Franklin cancels Vandy workout, opts for dodgeball

A couple of days out from the spring game, Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin opted for a team-building exercise instead of the usual day of training.

Franklin broke the surprising news during a team meeting.  As expected, the players were pretty jacked, but video shows that offensive line coach Herb Hand was equally fired up.

Herb goes wristbands, cut-off shirt, bank robbers jimmy hat, and looks dead serious.  And he’s talking s%*t.

We’ll assume that Franklin and Herb Hand were co-captains of “The Obliterators.”

Unfortunately, as seen in the video, Hand gets eliminated early.  Direct kill shot to the face.

But the kill shot to the face was a lot better than the one quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne received.  (That’s gonna take a few minutes to recover from.)

Overall, it looked like the players and coaches had a great time.

Vanderbilt will play their spring game on Sunday night at 7 pm EST.




Brian Kelly: This is about getting the QB's ready to win a championship

Brian Kelly will not make a decision on the starting quarterback until sometime during August.

Notre Dame will play their spring game on Saturday at 2 pm EST on Versus.  Kelly will be mic’d up.

Kelly said he’s not behind schedule with the quarterbacks just because he’s not going to name a starter.  The likely candidates are Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees, but even Everett Golson took snaps with the ones recently.

He explained, “No, I just think we need as much practice time as possible. I’m pleased with the progress they have all made. We want to win a championship. This is really about getting the quarterbacks in a position to win a championship.”

“No, we won’t say (after spring ball), you are one, you are two, you are three, you are four. We’ll tell them, these are the things, and our expectations, and you guys are in seven-on-seven and we’ll have a clear sheet of things we think they need to work on. There’s no way we would leave the spring game, unless something dramatic would happen, where we would say we have found our starter.”

Kelly added, “If I had Andrew Luck standing in front of you, I’d be very happy right now (laughing). For me, I don’t think I have a preconceived notion. I kind of deal with it. In dealing with it is, we have four guys who need a lot of work and need to continue to develop. I’ve been on the other side of this where we’ve had a quarterback who is clearly number one. It allows you to do a number of different things as well. I can adapt to whatever the situation is.”

The Irish open with South Florida in South Bend.

You can listen to Kelly's entire post-practice media session, right here.  




Brady Hoke didn't emphasize special teams this spring

For the first time since 1986, Dan Ferrigno isn’t coaching on the West Coast.

Since leaving Western Michigan in 1986, Ferrigno has coached at Oregon State, Cal, USC, Oregon, Cal, St. Mary’s HS, and San Diego State.  He’s a West Coast guy, born in San Francisco.

Now, he’s back in the state of Michigan serving as the special teams coordinator / tight ends coach for the Wolverines.

Unfortunately, based on Brady Hoke’s comments today, it doesn’t seem like the Wolverines spent an inordinate amount of time on special teams this spring.

Hoke told reporters, “You know, we didn’t do, besides some specialist things…catching balls and that type of stuff…we worked a little bit on some frontline kick-off return stuff to see who can sink their hips, who can get back and retreat the way you want them to and get on guys.  We’ve done some of that.  Most of the kicking game though has been in the field goal and extra point department, and punt.”

Michigan will play their spring game on Saturday.

You can watch another intertiew with Hoke, right here.