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Dan Mullen explains new challenge for his staff

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen does not want his players to have any sense of entitlement or overconfidence as the Bulldogs head into Spring practice.

Mullen explained this morning on 790 The Zone in Atlanta, “We have really good focus.  One of things we have to deal with now is dealing with success.  A lot of our players have not had to deal with success before.  Now, we’re getting everyone pat them on the back when they are walking to class now.  They’ve dealt with adversity.  They’ve dealt with everyone telling them what we can’t do.”

“It’s a little bit of a challenge.  We’re worked awfully hard to win 9 games last year, but I don’t want to be satisfied with 9 wins.  We have to work that much harder this year.  There is some confidence in our team.  There are some guys that now believe…that maybe before didn’t believe they could do some things that they are doing right now.”

“Now, we have to defend against that overconfidence, that sense of entitlement.  We try to squash that in our off-season program very quickly and remind them how hard they have to work.”

“Our goal is to find a way to get to Atlanta.  That is one thing that we can control.  Find a way to win the SEC West and get to Atlanta.”

The 2011 non-conference schedule for Mississippi State include at Memphis, LA Tech, at UAB, and UT-Martin.




So who exactly is now coaching at Nebraska?

It’s been an interesting off-season at Nebraska, where head coach Bo Pelini has made several staff changes.

So who exactly is now coaching at Nebraska?

Carl Pelini remains and the defensive coordinator.  John Papuchis remains as the special teams coordinator / defensive line coach.  Papuchis has added the title of recruiting coordinator.

Tim Beck, who coached the running backs last season, is the new offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach.  Beck will serve as the play-caller.

Beck says, “You can't be afraid to start over…junk everything and get a system in place. A mistake of a lot of football coaches that coach a lot of years in a lot of different places, they tie in so many different philosophies, techniques and verbiage and it becomes a bunch of stuff."

Barney Cotton remains as the offensive line / associate head coach.  Ron Brown shifts from tight ends to running backs.

The Rivers School (MA) head coach Rich Fisher joined the staff as wide receivers coach.  Fisher coached at Idaho from 1999-2003.  From 2004-2009, he operated the New England Gridiron Football Camps.

Pelini promoted staff intern John Garrison to assistant offensive line / tight ends coach.

After a roughly 2-week stay in Bloomington, Corey Raymond joined the staff as defensive backs coach.  Raymond coached the corner at Utah State last season.  He was hired at Indiana, but shortly thereafter opted to join the Nebraska staff.

Ross Els, who served as the linebackers / assistant head coach at Ohio University this past season, accepted the linebackers job.

No longer on the staff are Shawn Watson (Louisville), Ted Gilmore, Marvin Sanders, Mike Ekeler (Indiana).

The 2011 season begins with four consecutive non-conference games for the Huskers.  Nebraska plays Chattanooga, Fresno State, Washington, and travels to Wyoming.   




Quick Hits: Tracy Rocker, David Shaw, David Lee, Mizzou mat drills

Tracy Rocker admits he was shocked the Titans hired him as defensive line coach: "I never knew. I've never been one of those guys who politicked for a job. I guess I always felt if I was doing something right, someone would notice. So when Coach Munchak called and said he wanted to bring me in for an interview I was shocked. And I'm still shocked to this day I've been (hired).”

"The No. 1 thing is I am always looking for leadership … and the next is to go to work. Stop talking and get better at your craft and be willing to perform every week at a high level. The hardest thing at being a good player is can you do it the next week, and the week after that? You have to be consistent, and that is what I strive for.''

 

Stanford head coach David Shaw closing spring practice to focus on going to the next level: “We had one spring practice that was open for everyone to see. Now they’re all closed. Now it’s time to see who’s tough, who wants to rise.”

“When you reach that championship level, you don’t just sit there and enjoy it. You make it harder on yourself. Then you see who’s tough.”

Ole Miss offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach David Lee says Houston Nutt will improve his game management with subtraction of play-calling role: “I remember being a head coach way back 100 years ago. When I took over play-calling, I felt like I really didn't know what we were doing defensively, not like I should have. I didn't have time to look at the kicking game or the opponent's kicking game. I was planning, coordinating, calling plays and coaching quarterbacks.”

“I can remember being mentally stressed and tired from wearing all those hats when November hit. I think this will give him a chance to improve his game management as a head coach, to call the shots and manage the game. He can oversee defense and the kicking game.”

 

Highlights of Missouri mat drills:

 




Frank Beamer hammered with questions about staff changes

Frank Beamer announced this morning that quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain will serve as the play-caller next season instead of offensive coordinator Brian Stinespring.

Today’s announcements conclude a number of changes this off-season to Beamer’s coaching staff.  In all, veteran running backs coach Billy Hite moves to assistant to the head coach / senior advisor.  Outside linebackers / strong safeties coach Jim Cavanaugh moves to director of high school relations & recruiting.

Shane Beamer was added to the staff as running backs / associate head coach.  Cornell Brown joins the staff as outside linebackers / assistant defensive line coach.  Stinespring will continue to serve as the offensive coordinator / tight ends coach, but he will now coach the tackles as well.  Offensive line coach Curt Newsome will now serve as the center & guards coach.

This afternoon, Beamer was hammered with all sorts of questions regarding his changes.

Beamer downplayed the play-calling change by saying, "To me, it’s not as big a deal as maybe you guys would make it out to be.”

According to Beamer, the decision to change play-callers was Stinespring’s decision.

Beamer explained, "One thing would be play-calling. That came about in sitting down with Bryan (Stinespring) and talking about it. Mike O'Cain meets with the quarterbacks every day, and I think having that guy that meets with them every day and is watching video and watching video of the last game, I think in the big picture, actually having that guy be the primary play-caller ... sometimes you’d run into a situation where you're watching film of the upcoming team and it's third-and-10 and it's, 'Logan, what would you like in this situation?' I think coach O'Cain has that opportunity.”

“Now let me say, Coach Stinespring did that every Friday night at the hotel with Tyrod. But I think meeting with the guy every day, sometimes you get more in tune with what your quarterback likes in certain situations. He knows why you're calling things in certain situations. I just think it’s kind of more open in that regard, so that's the reason. And Coach Stinespring was the guy to decide it, and that's the reason we ended up going that way."

Beamer also explained, “It wasn’t like I didn’t want Billy Hite around or didn’t want Jim Cavanaugh around. I did want them around. They’re valuable, valuable people to Virginia Tech football. If they wouldn't have been around, I wouldn't want to do this. If either one of them weren't going to stay around Virginia Tech football, I wouldn't have wanted to do this."

The press conference transcript is available here.  It’s pretty interesting and includes his reasoning for Bud Foster not getting the associate head coach title.  




Video: Dabo taking Clemson through mat drills

Just before Spring practice begins, coaches tend to lead their teams through a few weeks of mat drills.  Most coaches conduct the drills early in the morning, like 5:45 am early, to help build team chemistry and toughness.

Players generally dread the drills, which include a number of 2-minute agility stations.  The focus is on finishing drills, discipline, physical & mental toughness.  Leaders rise to the top and the weak become totally exposed.

At Clemson, Dabo Swinney is leading the Tigers through their version of the grueling workouts.  Swinney, like most head coaches, takes the final minutes to share his thoughts and develop the team.

Following Clemson’s recent workout, Swinney explained to the Tigers, “It’s about team.  If we’re going to win, if we’re going to be successful, it’s going to be through team.”

“There’s not one person better than the team, bigger than the team.  Not one coach, none of us.  We got to all grab hands and work together, do it together.”

Here’s the latest video of the Clemson mat drills:

 




Al Borges talks Michigan offense and challenges

Michigan offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Al Borges says the whole goal of the offense is to be productive.

Borges wants downhill running at the core of the Wolverines offense.

Borges told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, "Schematically, we’re blowing everything up and starting over again. We’re still going to gear everything we do offensively to the skills of the people that are doing it, in particular the quarterback. Are we going to look just like we did at San Diego State? Probably not.”

"We still run around the ends sometimes or at least try to, but we're more of a downhill, power offense type team. A portion of our offense is get in a three-point stance, line the tailback up and come off and hit people in the mouth."

Borges said Denard Robinson’s immediate hurdles include learning the terminology and executing the proper footwork with the new scheme.

Michigan will open the 2011 season with five consecutive home games.  The Wolverines will host Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, San Diego State, and Minnesota.

To end the regular season, Michigan hosts Nebraska and Ohio State in back-to-back weeks.  The cheapest ticket near the 50-yard line for the Nebraska game is selling for $625 on StubHub today.  You can get 4 tickets (together) on the 50-yard line for the Ohio State game for $749 per ticket.




Wow. Pasqualoni setting the bar high

Paul Pasqualoni will head into Spring practice with a group of inexperienced quarterbacks, but hopes one can emerge to become like Aaron Rodgers.

On the bright side, UCONN doesn’t have the most daunting non-conference schedule in 2011.  In fact, the first five games include Fordham, at Vanderbilt, Iowa State, at Buffalo, and Western Michigan.

Pasqualoni told the Hartford Courant, “To me, he's (Aaron Rodgers) special because he's got this sense of moving in the pocket and scrambling and he's a little bit unique because he'll scramble to throw and he'll scramble to run. So he really drives you crazy because you don't know whether to stay back and you don't know whether to come up because he'll get by you either way and it just so happens we played against him, had him in the Pro Bowl last year and it kind of struck me, watching him practice how good he was at both. Usually, they're good at one or the other.”

“We might have a chance to have that kind of guy or at least we know enough about him to maybe we can coach one of these guys to be that kind of guy you know what I'm sayin?”

Good luck, Joe Moorhead.  The expectations have been set for your quarterbacks.

Pasqualoni added, "Those quarterbacks, the scrambling kind of guy, they certainly can keep the plays alive, they certainly can be very, very productive. You have to be a little bit careful sometimes that they don't turn the ball over on you but to answer your question on the quarterback I just think you have to take what you have and you select a quarterback.”

Just get ‘em there, Joe.

“To me, it's not based on anything other than production. It has to be based on production. It can't be based on height. It can't be based on 40-yard dash time. It's got to be based on production, how the kids in the huddle feel about him, his leadership. Can he get the ball down the field, can he finish the drive, all those things. At the end of the day it's based on production."

"Trick Shot" McEntee is your guy, Coach Moorhead.  

 




Washington set to remodel Husky Stadium for $250 million

In November, Washington will begin a $250 million remodeling of Husky Stadium.

6% of the stadium will be premium seating, which UW officials expect will bring in $6 million annually.  25 suites will be sold between $35,000 - $75,000 per suite, although a five to ten year commitment will be required.

According to the Seattle Times, “The plan calls for the entire lower bowl and south-side upper deck to be demolished and reconstructed. About 4,000 premium seats will be built on the south side.”

Already a terrific venue for college football, Washington plans to make alcohol sales available for holders of premium seats.

The project will force Washington to play the 2011 Apple Cup and the entire 2012 season at Quest Field, the home of the Seattle Seahawks. The first game in the remodeled Husky Stadium will be on September 7, 2013.  UW will host Boise State.

Sark is reportedly fired up.