Bob Diaco speaks Latin, references Garth Brooks and wins his first press conference at UConn
Bob Diaco won the press conference.
Wearing slicked back hair, a fresh shave, a nicely-tailored suit and an omnipresent smile, Connecticut's newest head coach looked like the polar opposite of its previous head coach. Which, of course, is exactly what the program needs. Diaco waited 14,907 days for today, for the day he finally became a head football coach, and it showed. He was all over the place - in a good way.
For those keeping score at home, Diaco references: Pavlov, St. Augustine, Knute Rockne and Garth Brooks thus far.— Dan Murphy (@BGI_DanMurphy) December 12, 2013
Diaco will shave off the morose that grew over UConn football - a program that started this season 0-9 and is 13-23 since its 2010 Big East championship - and paint it over with a fresh coat of Diaco's own optimism.
Diaco on recruiting the Northeast: "The Northeast is packed with football fans. The interest in the game trickles down to creating great athletes and a great pool of football players in our footprint. It's an incredible recruiting hotbed."
Diaco on Connecticut's facilities: "This school has great facilities. From a facilities standpoint and a resources standpoint, you're not going to find anywhere in the country that has it nicer."
Diaco on the American Athletic Conference: "Off the charts fun."
Diaco on the American's bowl line-up: "Get your bathing suits ready."
Diaco on the demand of UConn season tickets: "Get the ticket while you can because soon you won't be able to get it."
Diaco didn't offer much by way of specific - give him a break, he didn't officially get the job until 1:30 Thursday morning - but he offered a passionate, eloquate answer on what he expect the Huskies' offense to look like (we'll post the full video when we find it). "A guy with great play calls that his players can't run will fail. We need to overwhelm the opponent at the point of attack. We need to do all the things that I hated - tempo changes, formation shifts, every screen imaginable, chuck it down the field, move the pocket," Diaco said. "That, to me, will be an offense that's very hard to stop."
The two biggest tasks facing the newest head Huskie will be to recruit players and create a culture of winning with the players already on campus. He's clearly well suited to accomplish the first task, and unveiled his plan to meet goal No. 2: "We need to compete in meetings, compete in the weight room, compete in spring drills, compete in teh summer," Diaco said. "You set up opportunities to win, and then you glorify that winning. I'm going to make sure as an organization we let them know that they just won."
After hearing Chris Petersen speak the last week about fit, fit, fit, and fit, Diaco-to-Connecticut feels like a perfect match. Diaco got the job he wanted, and Connecticut got someone that wants to be at Connecticut. "We're at UConn, it's exactly the right fit for us," said Diaco. "I'm exactly the right fit for this team, and it's exactly the right fit for me."
"I believe that I was put onto this Earth by the good Lord to teach young men how to be men in football," Diaco said. "I love football and I love inherently the people that serve this game."
One win down, many more to go.
Gary Pinkel needs your help choosing Mizzou's uniforms for the Cotton Bowl
Gary Pinkel has a problem, and he needs you to fix it. He's not sure which uniform Missouri should wear for the Tigers' date in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 3. Ok, it's not really a problem. But Missouri the uniforms it will wear for the impending game against Oklahoma State.
For what it's worth, Missouri has worn each exact uniform combination once this season. The Tigers were in gold tops and black pants with the exploded Tiger helmet for their 36-17 win over Florida on Oct. 19, and wore all black uniforms with the exploded Tiger helmet for the 28-21, SEC East-clinching defeat of Texas A&M on Nov. 30.
Voting opened today and closes Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.
Personally, I'd go with Option 2. You can vote for your favorite here.
Video: Wisdom from each of the five Broyles Award finalists
The mission of the Broyles Award is to shine some spotlight on a group of people who normally stand in the shadows - assistant coaches. In furthering that mission, the people behind the Broyles Award do something very, very smart: they let each of their five finalists speak.
The group of five finalists - Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, Baylor offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery and Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt - helped their teams to a combined 57-6 record this season. Four won their respective conference championships, and the fifth (Roper) appeared in his conference title game against another Broyles Award finalist (Pruitt). Two of the five will meet each other in the BCS National Championship, one is headed to the Rose Bowl, another will coach in the Fiesta Bowl, and the fifth will appear in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Needless to say, they all had fantastic seasons.
Each finalist is a remarkably intelligent coach with wisdom to share. And share they will.
Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi (winner)
Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee
Baylor offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery
Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt
Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper
Vandy's latest All-Access video is unreal
Every time Vanderbilt comes out with a new episode of their "ReVealed" series, I become more and more convinced that they are one of a handful of FBS programs that belong among the upper echelon of program's that effectively use video production to connect (and communicate) with their fan base and recruits.
Their latest installment, highlighting their first win over in-state rival Tennessee has it all; the emotions before kickoff, the roller coaster of adversity during the game, and the jubilation after that only a win over your rival can bring,
And then there's this tweet that offensive line coach Herb Hand sent out a few moments ago:
Enjoy this one, it's outstanding.
USA Today has released its assistant coach salary database for 2013
On Wednesday night, USA Today released its annual update to its Assistant Coach Salary Database and, you're not going to believe this, but coaches are making more money than ever. Average pay for FBS assistants is up to $216,000 - a 7.5 percent increase from last season. Twenty-three assistants make more than $600,000, more than double the number from 2010. Three assistants now make north of $1 million a year.
Unfortunately, job stability has not risen in proportion to salaries. USA Today noted that nine assistants have worked at four different schools in the last four years. Tennessee wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni and UTEP offensive line coach Spencer Leftwich are at five in five.
"The way that this profession has changed — the pressure to win, the pressure to win right now — it's you better win," Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Loeffler, on his sixth stop in seven years, told USA Today. "And if you don't win, you normally have to move from next job to next job. That's just the nature of the beast. It's what occurs in the NFL.
"It's what occurs in college football, and you've got to find ways to do it the right way, and obviously find ways to win. That's our business right now."
The good and bad news is that neither the rising salaries nor the constant turnover figure to change any time soon.
"We make more money than we ever dreamed," N.C. State offensive coordinator Matt Canada said. "I started out making five grand. Twenty years ago, I don't think anyone would have ever thought that things would get the way they are."
USA Today puts a tremendous amount of work into this database, and it's a tremendous resource for all of us in college football. The project is headed by Steve Berkowitz; you can follow him on Twitter (@ByBerkowitz) or reach out to him directly through Athletic Connections.
Here are the top 25 highest paid assistants in college football for 2013:
1. Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris - $1,309,650
2. Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart - $1,150,350
3. LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis - $1,116,667
4. Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison - $851,400
5. Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham - $850,000
6. Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox - $800,004
7. Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables - $800,000
Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson - $800,000
9. Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges - $709,300
10. Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder - $708,000
11. Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck - $700,000
12. Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier - $691,500
13. South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward - $655,050
14. Texas offensive coordinator Major Applewhite - $650,000
Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops - $650,000
Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz - $650,000
17. UCLA defensive coordinator Louis Spanos - $625,000
18. LSU running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson - $616,667
19. Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell - $610,000
20. Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof - $601,000
21. Virginia associate head coach for offense/tight ends coach Tom O'Brien - $600,000
LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron - $600,000
Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease - $600,000
24. Ohio State associate head coach/co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers - $585,000
Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo - $585,000
Fourteen of the top 25, and eight of the top 10, highest-paid assistants hail from the defensive side of the ball. LSU's Frank Wilson, checking in at No. 18 on the list, is the highest-paid position coach in college football at $616,667 per year.
Here is a look at the highest-paid assistants by conference:
ACC: Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris - $1,309,650
SEC: Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart - $1,150,350
Big Ten: Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison - $851,400
Pac-12: Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox - $800,004
Big 12: Texas OC Major Applewhite/Texas DC Manny Diaz/Oklahoma DC Mike Stoops - $650,000
American: Cincinnati defensive coordinator Art Kaufman - $355,000
Mountain West: Boise State defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski - $352,602
Sun Belt: Arkansas State defensive coordinator John Thompson - $288,539
Conference USA: UAB defensive coordinator Reggie Johnson - $251,200
MAC: Massachusetts defensive coordinator Phil Elmassian - $168,394
'The Vision': Charlie Weis lays out his recruiting pitch in this video
In his second year at Kansas Charlie Weis and his program probably haven't made the type of strides that they had hoped for, going 1-11 in his first year on campus, and improving two wins to 3-9 this season.
To help them take the next step to bowl eligibility, not only is Weis and his staff hitting the recruiting trail hard, but they're also being proactive in getting their recruiting message out to the masses with this video.
Below, Charlie Weis outlines his vision for the program and challenges the competitive nature of the guys on their recruiting radar, and those out there that are up to the challenge.
"I think that if you have anything burning inside, and you're a competitor by nature, this challenge absolutely fires you up because when everyone says no, you're saying yes. When everyone says that you can't, you're saying you can." Weis says.
"You now have to go prove it, and I'm going to make sure that I'm here until the job is done."
Second Wind Creative does a great job with videos like these, and this one is a prime example.
Cincinnati's red chrome bowl helmets have some unique touches
When Cincinnati takes on North Carolina in the Belk Bowl on December 28th, they'll be wearing some sharp red chrome helmets, but looking closer will reveal some unique details.
Another great job by the guys at Hyrdro Graphics on this one.
One person's hilarious pitch for the North Dakota job
One of the funniest things we've seen so far this week was last night when Deadspin got their hands on one of the interview packets from one of the applicants that applied for the North Dakota head coaching job.
All sorts of people (including a self proclaimed "sandwhich artist") applied for the North Dakota job, but this guy understandably stood out from the crowd. Using his PS2 and Sega Genesis prowess, and a little help from PowerPoint, this guy made his pitch to the ND administration.
Next time you catch yourself wondering what takes an AD so long to make a hire, refer to this.