How push-up contests helped turn Stanford around
When Jim Harbaugh took over the Stanford program back in 2007, the program needed a culture change. One of Harbaugh's assistant at that time was Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer, who served as the assistant head coach / defensive coordinator that inaugural season.
In a Q&A released earlier today, Shafer talked about how Jim Harbaugh doing push-ups during team stretches helped to start the process of changing the mindset of a team that had spent years at the bottom of the conference.
Shafer explains that right before practice, as players were going through warm ups and stretching, Harbaugh would go out in front of everyone and start doing push-ups, and since Shafer and Harbaugh were on different sides of the ball, they naturally talked trash to each other throughout the day and especially at practice.
"We were trying to foster that environment because the Stanford kids were the opposite of a lot of other kids at that time." Shafer explained. "They were downtrodden and hadn't won many games. They were almost too, "Yes sir, no sir." We were like, Hey, we've got to get these kids to loosen up.
As a staff, they structured practices where everything revolved around competing. To no one's surprise, sometimes Harbaugh would even get in on a contact drill with no pads on to amp up the energy.
One day, while Harbaugh was doing his push-ups, a player asked to Shafer, "Coach, are you going to let him do that? He's trying to show you up doing push-ups." Shafer says he then ran up next to Harbaugh and started pumping out his own. They started off at 25 and added one every day. By the end of the season they were "150 of the worst push-ups you ever saw".
While there is a ton more that goes into turning around a program than that, it's a great testament to Harbaugh and Shafer as coaches. They recognized what the program, and the kids needed at the time, and weren't afraid to get their hands dirty and do something ridiculous to get things rolling.
D-III program illustrates "Who they are" with this music/video combo
Sometimes the music choice for a highlight video can elevate the clip to a whole new level.
That's what Mount St. Joseph (D-III - OH) does with this highlight video. It shows recruits and their families what their football program is all about through the highlights and carefully selected song lyrics.
Nothing super fancy here, but it clearly does an excellent job of getting the point across to the intended audience.
Here's my favorite excerpt: "We're bad news. We're the young guns. We're the ones that they told you to run from." And that's just within the first 15 seconds.
Nebraska allocated 'more resources than ever' to recruiting in 2013-2014
According to Rivals, Nebraska signed the #32 class in the country, including four 4 star athletes and fourteen 3 stars among their 24 recruit haul. An additional 18 players are due to walk on, which is impressive standing on its own.
In his "Connecting on Campus" column, athletic director Shawn Eichorst explained their general approach to recruiting as "providing our coaches and staff all the resources, support and facilities reasonably necessary to recruit, retain and graduate the best and brightest student-athletes." As a head coach, those words coming from your AD have to be music to your ears. I'm sure Bo Pelini agrees.
This past year the Husker athletic department provided the most recruiting resources ever, in the entire history of the Nebraska football program. On signing day Pelini publicly thanked Eichorst and the athletic department for supplying private planes that allowed them to finish off the 2014 class strong and get a kick start of the 2015 class.
Eichorst added that, moving forward, they plan to add a number of additional full-time staff members assigned specifically to recruiting. A lot of programs, namely in the SEC have assigned similar roles within the football department, and the results have definitely paid. A total of seven SEC teams are represented within the top ten of Rivals' team recruiting rankings (Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Georgia, Florida, Auburn). Eichorst said that those recruiting support positions will be posted in the fall.
"Even though it’s extremely difficult to compare apples-to-apples, we are proud that our overall allocation of resources for recruiting consistently ranks among the best in the Big Ten Conference as well as nationally." Eichorst added. "Bottom line, we will continue to do what is reasonably necessary to put our programs in position to graduate our student-athletes and to compete for both conference and national championships.”
With the recruiting support positions yet to be filled, and Nebraska having to travel extended distances to get their coaches in front of the nation's top talent, expect Eichorst to have a similar "we spent more than ever" message next year.
These numbers prove how vital a football program is to the athletic department
Over the past year or so we've taken a several looks at the value that a football program can bring to a university.
A successful football program raises admission numbers, fundraising efforts, and makes the university more visible in the public eye. That's all the icing on the cake compared to the most obvious reason that schools are deciding to add football to their docket, which is a major increase in revenue.
Penn State recently released their revenue numbers over the past year, and while the football program continues to generate an enormous amount of profit ($34.1 million in 2012), the entire athletic department finished 2012-2013 year in the red by nearly $6 million. While we found that somewhat interesting, it was the money that the football program generated for the university that really caught our attention.
On page 7 of the document below, highlighting ticket sales, the football team accounted for over $31.75 million dollars of the $32.9 million that ticket sales brought in across all men's programs. No other program accounted for over $1 million in ticket sales. The next closest was men's basketball with $795,653 in sales. Needless to say, that's a huge gap. Total women's athletic department ticket sales for all sports accounted for $468,000.
The other area that caught our attention is detailed on page 14 where they take a look at the sales in regards to concessions, novelties, and parking. Football accounted for $4.1 million, while all men's teams accounted for a grand total of $4.2 million. Of the hundred thousand dollars accounted for by other men's sports programs, the wrestling program accounted for $58,594 and the men's basketball program accounted for just $7,764.
While reports like this can be a bit intimidating to look at upon your first glance, it really puts the importance of a football program for a university into perspective. These kind of numbers are a major driving force behind why 23 athletic departments have, or are planning to launch football programs by 2016.
The Penn State athletic department's full release can be seen below.
Video: Eastern Michigan coaches and players take the polar plunge
A couple of Eastern Michigan's new staff, and a handful of players, participated in the 6th annual Ford Lake Frozen Leap on Saturday.
Among the coaches that took the plunge for charity, was first year EMU head coach Chris Creighton.
While some of the players went for the bonus points, jumping in and doing a cannonball, or flexing and taking their time to get out of the frigid waters, coach Creighton opted for the "jump in and get to the ladder as quick as possible" approach. As a Michigander myself, I can't say that I blame him.
See him take his plunge around the two minute mark.
Larry Johnson explains changing jobs is like 'changing parking lots, not cars'
This off season has been unlike any other off season that Larry Johnson has ever known.
After 18 years in Happy Valley where he wore blue every day, Johnson now sits in the offices at Ohio State, where wearing blue is not only banned, but you're not even allowed to write in blue ink because of the rival up north.
While he notes in Buckeye Extra that some things have changed, he uses an analogy to explain that he's the same coach and person, just doing it at a different location.
“I might have changed lots, but I didn’t change cars. There’s no question it’s different, because 18 years at one place — my staying at Penn State was because I was real loyal to my players. That’s why I stayed all those years. It was just that at this time, this juncture, it was time to separate.”
One area where Johnson and his message haven't had to change, is on the recruiting trail.
“Recruiting is recruiting; you’re just doing it for a different school. The product we sold at Penn State is the same product here: great students and student-athletes, quality players, quality people. That makes it easy to transition, because you’re recruiting the same kind of players.”
In the article, one coach talks about how weird it is to see Johnson walk into their school wearing a new color scheme, and how his approach to recruiting impacts high school kids. Read the whole piece here.
SEC players at the combine
We saw this tweet this morning (released by LSU director of player personnel Austin Thomas):
While the general order depicted probably is largely in line with most people's expectations (although I have to say that 40 in 4 years seems impressively high and 5 on the other end is surprisingly low), I wonder what this same type of image will look like 3 or 4 years from now.
Any informed opinions want to weigh in on this one? If so, tweet back to us and we'll add your thoughts to this article.
Video: Iowa football players collaborate with the dance team
The time between the end of bowl games and the start of spring ball is a stretch dominated by winter weight room sessions and grueling conditioning.
Every once in a while a video is brought to our attention that aims to break up that monotony for the players, and that's exactly what this clip from Iowa provides.
From the looks of it, the football team put in quite a bit of work with the Hawkeye dance squad to come up with this routine that they debuted during a recent halftime of a womens basketball game. It's too bad more people weren't in the stands to see this one live, because some of the guys can bust a move.