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Gutsiest call of weekend goes to Nick Saban

The gutsiest call of the day in college football was made by none other than Nick Saban. 

Leading 24-20 with 54 seconds remaining in the game on their own 44-yard line, Alabama faced a 4th and inches.  Arkansas did not have any timeouts remaining.

Punt it or run it?

Alabama first attempted to run a freeze play, but wasn’t able to get Arkansas to jump off-sides.  That’s when Saban gathered his offense and offensive guard Barrett Jones told Saban, "Coach. Just trust us. We can get this one yard." 

Saban said, "OK. Let's do it." 

Following the game, Saban explained, “There are a lot of bad things that can happen when you punt it. You can fumble the snap. They can block it. You have to get into ‘tight punt’ so you don’t have very good coverage. … So, the players said that we can make it, and we did. And those are all good calls when they work, and they’re horrible calls when they don’t.” 

Greg McElroy executed a quarterback sneak and the Crimson Tide ran out the clock.  

Gutsy call by Saban, a coach that knows his team.




SEC Coaches Quick Hits

Gene Chizik says Tigers responded during 35-27 win over South Carolina: "Again, coming down from (13) points at one point two weeks in a row against two really, really good football teams. They have the word respond that we use a lot. Our guys have just responded. It is not always pretty. There are a lot of things as we look back on it are not good. These guys are fighting, clawing and scratching and trying to find a way to win every week. That's just so much appreciative as me being the head coach and all the assistants as well because we know these guys go to fight for Auburn and they fight for us and they fight for their teammates."

 

Nick Saban explains tale of two halves in 24-20 win at Arkansas: "Our inexperience in adjusting to [Arkansas'] motion and formations -- all the things we practiced -- we made mistakes. I'm talking about the most basic things. There's so many young guys playing."


"We were much more aggressive [in the second half]. We were so afraid to make mistakes in the first half that we got so vanilla. But that was the gameplan, to go out and be aggressive."

"I take away [from the game] a tale of two cities. Great job by our guys in the second half ... That [first] half was really not a good half of football, and I really don't want the players to put it behind them. I want them to remember what it's like to not play the way you're capable of playing."


Mark Richt talks about 0-3 UGA in the SEC:  “I never would have predicted it, but that’s where we’re at. We’ve just got to make sure that everything we’re doing is the right thing to do and that we’re doing it well. I’ve just got to make sure—that’s just part of my job as head coach. I’m responsible for everything that happens. I’ve got to make sure that every part of our football program starts to do the things that we need to do to win.”

“We’re definitely in  a position that I’ve never been in as  a player or a coach. . . .  It’s certainly not a good place to be, but we are where we are. We’ve got to stay together, and I’ve seen no signs of change in my mindset that we’re a close-knit family. But we’ve also got to look within, starting with me, as to the things that have kept us from having the success that we want. That’s what we’re going to do.”

 

Vols beat UAB in OT, but Dooley very frustrated: “We just kept fighting. That’s the only thing we did well. We didn’t tackle. We didn’t line up right. We blew coverages. We didn’t catch. We didn’t run routes right. We didn’t do anything right. “We did nothing well except we kept on fighting, and that’s what gave us a chance.”

(Says UAB was superior than Vols) “It looked like two equal teams out there. Actually, it really didn’t. It looked like one superior team out there.”

 

Houston Nutt says Fresno State head coach Pat Hill surprised by how hard Rebels played: “Our guys played hard. The first thing Pat Hill said to me was that he did not expect us to play that hard. If you don’t play hard against a team like them then you will get beat. They are a good football team. I am really proud of this win.”

 

Dan Mullen compliments offensive coordinator Les Koenning: “He called a great game tonight. I called one play tonight and it was the reverse pass play that ended up being an interception. Ryan Clark is supposed to watch over me and make sure I do not make stupid calls, and I turned to him after that one and said ‘Do not let me make decisions like that." 

“They came out tonight and never stopped believing. We finally made those plays tonight that you have to make to win the game. Our players had a lot of faith tonight. They had faith in our program, in our coaches, and in each other. This was a really big win for us tonight. We had a great atmosphere tonight because of our great fans. They really showed up tonight and helped us win that ballgame. We need to win those games if we are going to compete in the SEC. You have to win at home if you want to play in the SEC, and you have to create a tough environment where other teams do not want to play.”

 

Urban Meyer becomes sixth fastest coach to reach 100 career wins: "I'm very blessed. Some of the coaches that I know haven't had the chance to coach the kind of players that I've been able to coach at Florida, the kind of people. So I feel very humbled and very fortunate to be in a position to reach that many wins."

 

Les Miles evaluates the Tigers following 20-14 win over West Virginia: "We can run the football well. We didn't throw it as well as we would have liked. Our quarterback play has got to get better. It's just that simple. Our guys know it. We are going to work on it. We'll start yet again on Monday."

 

Bobby Petrino talks about 24-20 loss to Alabama: “We just couldn’t find a way to win in the 4th quarter. We had the opportunity and just couldn’t get it done. That final drive was a good drive for Alabama. Our problem was that we couldn’t get them off the field, especially on third down. That last drive was like eight minutes long and they just made the plays in the end.”

 

Quoting Steve Spurrier after 35-27 loss at Auburn: “We couldn’t run very well.  Their defensive line pretty much got the best of us most of the time.” 

“It was there to be won, but we couldn’t get it done.” 

“They played pretty much a soft cover-2 all night.”




Rick Neuheisel says "The Pistol" is really helping UCLA

On the Tim Brando Show this morning, Rick Neuheisel talked about how pleased he is with the UCLA running game, thanks to an off-season decision to move to "The Pistol."

Neuheisel said, “We knew why we were doing it.  The first two years, we were 9th in rushing (Pac-10).  We put too much pressure on the throwing game to survive.  (Chris) Ault was very generous in sharing information on The Pistol.  It’s worked.  We’re averaging 200 yards a game rushing.  Once we find a measure of balance, I think we’re going to be a pretty potent offense.”

“It allows for the offense to come downhill.  When you’re offset, it’s more lateral reads.  By coming down hill, the defense has to make faster decisions.  It’s veer offense from the (shot)gun.” 

Although Neuheisel was really pleased with last week’s win over Houston, he knows UCLA has their hands full at Texas on Saturday. 

“It was an important game (Houston). I thrilled with the way we played and the outcome of the game.  We set a standard of how to play with great intensity.” 

“They (Texas) are trying to develop an identity.  They have great NFL looking guys at every position.  There’s no question in my mind that they are going to break loose.  I just hope it’s not tomorrow.”

(on his QB Kevin Prince) “He’s rounding into shape.  It’s also a new offense.  It’s not the same offense as last year.  There’s going to be growing pains.  It doesn’t help if you keep yanking on him.” 

(on his concern) “We’ve got to be more sturdy up front (defensively).”

Kick-off in Austin is set for 3:30 pm EST.  




Bronco says Kaepernick as good or better than Ponder and Locker

Bronco Mendenhall, who has coached against Christian Ponder and Jake Locker this season, has high praise for Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick has already accounted for 13 touchdowns on the season for the Wolf Pack. 

Mendenhall told the Deseret News, "I think he's equal, if not better, than the ones we've played. The style of play is a little bit different, but in terms of athleticism, and what they ask him to do in this offense, I think he's having the most impact of any of the three we've played thus far." 

"It's basically option football and the ability to throw it," Mendenhall said. "Anytime you play Air Force or Navy, teams that are exceptional at running the football, with option principles, they usually can't throw the ball effectively in addition to that. Nor do they have a quarterback that can do both. It's option football and the ability to throw the football by a quarterback that can do both. That's what makes it so difficult."

Nevada enters the game #3 in the country in total offense (560 yards per game).  After scoring on all 9 possession against Colorado State, Nevada dropped 52 on California last week.

"As we continue to improve our assignments, improve our fundamentals and continue to play with more of a consistent effort, I think we'll improve. I'm not saying that will be this week nor am I saying that we'll stop or even slow down the pistol (offense). That's our hope. My main focus is just committing to improve our team."

Here at FootballScoop headquarters, we wonder how high Kaepernick will get drafted.  Did Vince Young really throw it that much better coming out of college?  We're just asking.

Kick-off in Provo is set for 6:00 pm EST.




Rich Rod: We've got to get them in whether we're ahead or not

Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez says he plans to play a lot more players against Bowling Green to start developing some experience with Big Ten play on the horizon.

Rich Rod told the Detroit Free-Press, "And a bunch of other guys, more running backs, more receivers, more linemen. We've got to get them in the game whether we're ahead or not. We've got to try to get more guys ready to play. Defensively, as well.”

“The problem we have is so many young guys that are on the two-deep, we're a little bit nervous to put them in there in crucial situations. We're trying to get the right situation. But we're going to force ourselves.”

"It's different in a game. When (someone) goes out there, and you're all on your own, and everything happens a lot faster, you need that experience. With the tough Big Ten schedule coming up and everything we have on our schedule, we've got to get the young guys some game experience."

Kick-off from The Big House in Ann Arbor is set for 12:00 pm EST on ESPN2.  You can see the entire Week #4 TV Schedule right here.




Gary Patterson: That's a lie. He's a liar.

Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com tweeted the following on Thursday afternoon:

"Texas A&M fans would rather have Mike Sherman or Gary Patterson? You could have had Patterson. That's a fact."

So when Mac Engle of the Dallas Morning News brought the tweet to the attention of TCU head coach Gary Patterson, the Horned Frogs coach responded, "That's a lie. Nobody at Texas A&M ever contacted me. ... He's a liar. It's just like the Kansas State job."

Brown is the reporter who broke most of the Big Twelve / Pac-10 conference realignment stories.

With a serious stadium redevelopment (photos) underway at TCU, don’t expect Patterson to jump ship this off-season. 

TCU plays at SMU tonight at 8 pm EST on ESPN. 

 




Lunch time Coaches Quick Hits

Kyle Whittingham concerned with ball security: “We have to focus as a unit and think about the ball even when you’re running,” he said. “Guys think too much about making a move or yards and you have to step back and focus on ball security.”

 

Bronco Mendenhall takes responsibility for QB issues: "The biggest issue with our execution so far, is the choice that I made, and I'm completely responsible for, of playing two quarterbacks, which cut the execution and practice repetitions in half, for each player."

 

Lane Kiffin says no national TV makes Wazzu game a challenge: "I've always thought coaching here one of your hardest things to do is to get your team motivated when it's not the national game of the week. These guys have been so programmed to be in so many of those games that these are the games that you worry most about.”

 

Quoting LA Tech head coach Sonny Dykes: "We're playing a Conference USA team and need to have a great crowd this week. We're trying to put ourselves in the best position that we possibly can for when some things happen down the road — everybody anticipates something happening — and it's going to be important for us to continue to have great support, fill up the stadium, and show people that we've got the support necessary to continue to grow this program. It's going to be critical for the things that come down in the future."

 

Utah State head coach Gary Anderson upset with special team vs. Fresno State: "We had big issues on special teams. Special teams was really the key factor."

 

Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun wants special teams improvement: “They can be better, and they need to be better. That’s an area we put a lot of time into in August, but in these next two months I want to see a level pick up.”

 

Lane Kiffin pleased with special teams: “I would challenge that we put more time and dedication into our special teams than anybody in the country and it’s continued to pay off for us three games in a row.”

 

USC special teams coordinator John Baxter says previous staff didn’t spend enough time on special teams: “We’re not spending too much time. We’re spending what you should spend. They didn’t before. That’s not my fault. I got nothing to do with it. All I can control is what our staff does. You guys are used to watching [a team spend little time on special teams] but I’m not.”

Skip Holtz talks about Western Kentucky offense: "They run the ball and control the clock, and that is not something we've had a lot of success with as a defensive front not only this season to this point but last year."




Thursday morning Coaches Quick Hits

Brian Kelly says the Irish don’t deserve anything:  “Nobody feels sorry for Notre Dame at 1-2. It can’t be, Well, gee, you deserve …’ — we don’t deserve anything. We deserve what we get. We’re 1-2 and we need to do something about it. We have to come back and play this game with more toughness and tenacity than we’ve ever played.”

 

Tuberville talks about stress: "I don't know of any other job that's as stressful as this one, especially with the changes over the last 10-15 years with year-round attention and recruiting. That's become one thing that's made it just as stressful -- the competition (of recruiting).

"But the big thing is how much you travel. When you travel you never eat well, so you';re kind of like a junk food junkie. You eat out and you don't eat smart, you build the stress on top of it, and you have 80-90 hour work weeks. It's a heart attack waiting to happen.''

"Exercise, sleep and nutrition. That's the three things that we have to have in our profession. And we have to make ourselves do it. When you're younger I hardly ever slept, and I was eating burgers every day. You say I'm going to exercise at noon, and then you work at noon and you look and it's time to go to practice or get on a plane or do something. There's just no routine.''

 

Chip Kelly talks compliments Arizona State offense: “Comparing last year’s offense to this year’s offense, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. They’re definitely different than Dennis’ operation has been in the past.”

 

Chris Petersen talks about physical football: "I just don't think you can win, or win consistently, without that. It's hard to play 60 to 80 snaps with that intensity. And that focus."

 

Cutcliffe says operating with Sean Renfree is similar to days with Eli Manning: “He’s letting us go full tilt with what we do, which we hadn’t done probably since Eli, to be full tilt with everything we’re capable of doing in the passing game and continuing to grow. He’s very bright. He’s a more than willing worker and a more gifted, stronger, quicker athlete than he was a year ago. He’s improved his arm strength quite a bit.”

 

Rich Neuheisel talks about UCLA offense: "We worked hard to get to a place where we thought we knew what we were doing with this offense. Obviously we improved the running game. Now we have to focus on improving the pass."

 

Dooley explains his style with media: "Y'all ask me how a guy plays and I tell you. I don't really see it as calling them out. I'm just trying to be honest with them. I think it's important that the players know because sometimes -- and this happens a lot, guys -- a player thinks he played good, the coaches think he didn't play good and then they go on to the next week. And then there's no communication.”

"It's just important to me that if they don't play well, we tell them, 'You didn't play well and this is what you did wrong and we've got to correct it.' I don't really see it as calling them out as much as telling the truth of where we are and where we need to go."

Tulane head coach Bob Toledo doesn’t believe in moral wins: “I’ve never been one of those guys to come away with moral victories. It’s kind of like the Saints and the 49ers last night, you either win or you lose. There is no gray matter.”